We are really proud to bring you this interview with the undisputed Death/Thrash Metal kings Merciless! The band has finnaly after many years started to play again and of course I had to make an interview with them. I guess we don't need any further introduction... Rogga was the one who answered this long interview.

Interview by Whodan


Finally, to my and many others greatest joy Merciless have started to play again. Can you in detail tell us how this did happen?
Well, the whole thing started with that Karle'n (bass) recorded a demo, it was only one song. He got some help from a friend who did the guitars and the drum-machine programming. Then he asked me to do some vocals, which I did. And it turned out pretty good actually. So we just got together again. In the beginning we were just going to make one or two new songs and record a vinyl single or a mini-CD or something like that. But we decided to make a full-lenght album instead. One reason is that min-CD's are not a good deal for anyone. Some distributors are not interested in selling mini-CD's at all, I think they're too expensive, they cost as much as a full-lenght to make, but as you know, you can't sell them at that price. If that makes any sense?

What have you guys been doing during ‘95-’99 then? I know that Peter Stjärnvind (Or Starwind as Osmose calls him!) have been playing with Entombed. But what about the rest of you?
Farting, drinking and masturbating! Öh...Peter and Karle'n has a raw punk band called Loudpipes and they've done a mini-CD and a full-lenght, I think they're great. Freddy from Terra Firma is also a member of that band. Peter also made a full-lenght with Face Down a few years back. And Erik? I'm not sure if he's been doing anything seriously since we put the band on ice. I think he's been playing in some "hobby" bands, so to speak, don't really know, I'd better ask him one of these days. I did some guest-vocals on "Decibel Rebel" by the unholy Gehennah (on the song "Get out of my way"). And I worked with Putrefaction 'zine for a couple of years. That's all I can remember right now.

Will it be the same line-up as you had on ”Unbound” for the coming album as well?
Yep! This line-up IS Merciless. Don't think we would continue if someone quite the band. Not under the name of Merciless anyway. (On the other hand, you'll never know)

It seems as you are the only member still living in Strängnäs while the others lives in Stockholm. Don’t you think it would be easier for you to rehearse on a regular basis if you would move to Stockholm as well?
This is not correct. Karle'n is living here as well (but he lived in Stockis for six months or so a few years ago). We've got a very cheap and good rehearsal place here so it's not a problem. Well, gas money can be bummer sometimes.

When you released ”Unbound” you seemed to be extremely satisfied with it, and you said on TV that you weren’t able to do a better album and therefore (among other things I might add) you decided to call it a day. And if you still are that satisfied with, do you now feel that you’re able to a better album than ”Unbound”?
I can't speak for the others, but I'm very proud of "Unbound", maybe not 100%, but I don't think that is possible anyway. Well, we couldn't make a better album then (in '94) because we've had lost all inspiration at that time. It's different now, it's fun again. We'll do this as long as we enjoy it. To make a better album than "Unbound"? That's a hard question! It's really up to the listener. We'll try the best we can. Thrashing rage!

Tell me something about the actual material then. Is it a continuation where ”Unbound” left off or as it has been that many years ago, should we expect something totally different?
We'll only make DR Bombay covers this time! Hehe, seriously it'll be Merciless all the way! It'll be less melodic than "Unbound" I think, a few songs on "Unbound" had some really soft and melodic parts, I think we'll skipp that this time. It's not that I dislike that stuff, but that was Merciless in 1993 you know. Feels like the new songs will be shorter and harder.
Inget tjafs, för fan! But it's really difficult to say how the new stuff will sound in the end. There's a lot of work left, hell of a lot work actually.

During what period is the material written?
The past year or so.

As the scene is today, there are millions of new releases coming each day. What do you think about Merciless’ chances to finally get a fair amount of succes? Is the new material competitable enough?
I have no expectations. We haven't sold many albums in the past, so we just have to see what happens. As you mentioned there are millions of bands today and they all seem to get record deals. But there is nothing we can do about that, I just wonder sometimes how the hell all these shit bands can have any fans at all? Anyhow, if we make a record that we like, then maybe a few others will like it as well, hopefully.

Any title decided for the album yet? Can you reveal any new song titles?
The title will be "Anal fistfuck volume 17"! Eh, maybe not. We have some working titles. But will change later, I'm pretty sure about that. So I'm not gonna tell you anything, hehe, sorry.

What about the lyrics then? Is there a difference in your way of writing lyrics today compared to how you used to write your lyrics? What topics will the new lyrics deal with?
Good question! Haven't thought about that. Hopefully, I've become better in every way of writing. Because I'm not very pleased with some of the stuff I've written in the past, I like a few lyrics, but some I fucking hate. Anyway, the lyrics to Merciless will remain pretty much the same, only better (I hope). The concept is to write words that fits to the music, and our music is raw, hate-filled and rough. So I won't write lyrics about picking flowers or anything like that. I've got a lot of stuff which I won't use for Merciless, just because it doesn't fit to the music. I'll get the chance to use them in another project some day.

And do you know where you’ll record the album? If you’ll record it in Sweden there aren’t that many alternatives, the Abyss, Los Angered and perhaps studio Fredman. Do you think this is positive or negative?
Don't know where don't know when? There's plenty of studios in Sweden, but people in the Metal-scene seem to be afraid to use anything different than anyone else has used several times before. I suppose that's the reason why a lot of albums sound very much alike. Maybe we'll use one of the studios you mentioned, I really can't tell. Possible not when I think about it we'll use a studio in the Stockholm area, I'm pretty sure about that. Ah, who the fuck knows, wel'll just have to wait and see.

I heard something about that the initial plan was to do one re-union gig in Sweden and then tape and release it as a live album. Was there really some truth in that or was it just rumors?
Yeah! We had some plans to make a live-album. But it wasn't possible to do that in a proper way. So we threw those plans in the toilet.

How high do the ”new” Merciless aim then? Do you feel as motivated to play with Merciless today as you were back in the 80’ies when you formed the band?
Yes! We're motivated. But in my opinion, we don't rehearse enough. I'd like to rehearse a couple of times a week but it isn't happening. there's so much of everything, work, school and of course Peter's Entombed, he's making a living off that band so it's his first priority. It's OK though. Anyway, when we rehearse, we're pretty serious. Sometimes, haha! And yes, it's different from when we started in the 80'ies, at that time we had nothing else than the band, that we felt was important, you know, school and shit, that wasn't very important! Anyhow, we don't feel any preasure whatsoever today, we do what we wanna do when we wanna do it. we just wanna enjoy ourselves, make some more new tunes, do some gigs and then I don't know. The future is a blank page.

Prior to the forthcoming album you re-released ”The Awakening” through Osmose Productions. Any particular reason for re-releasing this album?
People have been asking for it. There hasn't been many copies out on the market until now. We put some bonus tracks on it as well, four hysterical live trax from 1990. Not the best nor tightest versions I've heard but those were the best ones we had on tape. We've never taped a gig professionally, but it's ok I think.

There are some changes in the layout on the re-release and I became kind of surprised when I saw that the cover was mirrored on the new version. Why is that?
I don't exactly know what you mean by "mirrored"? (Maybe there is just something wrong with the copy Osmose gave me? - ed) It's a different color, yes, and I think it turned out damn cool, don't you? And people have been asking for the lyrics since the album was released the first time so we put those in too.

And you’ll release your forthcoming album on Osmose as well. What made you sign to them?
They offered us the best deal, simple as that. We know some people who have been working with them and they seemed to be the best choice. There haven't been any problems at all until this day. We're not used to that, haha!

You’ve had extremly bad luck with all labels you been signed to during the years. What makes you think things will be better with Osmose? Of course nothing speaks against your cooperation with them but with your bad luck one can almost belive you being trapped in a vicious circle or something...
Yeah, Osmose is our 4th record label. Vicious circle... you're propably right. We've been through so much bullshit, so I wouldn't be surprised if something fucked up. Anyway, as long as we can make good music and somebody actually puts in on CD, it's OK.

Being on Osmose will most likely give you the opportunity to tour. Are there any specific bands on Osmose you’d like to tour with?
Don't know? Some cool bastards. I don't really care who we play with, as long as they don't behave like assholes and drink all our beer. Sorry, I just don't know....

And if you are going to tour, don’t you think it would be worth to test using a session second guitarist to get a fuller sound live or will you stick to Erik Wallin doing the only guitar?
We were thinking about asking Lemmy to play second bass and some back-up vocals, but he was too damn drunk! No we'll continue with this line-up. I mentioned it before, this line-up IS Merciless. It would be another band if we got a second guitar player. And it's less messy with only one guitar, voff voff!

The very new started Iron Fist Productions re-released your two demos on vinyl some time ago. Does it mean that you are still proud of them even if it’s more than 10 years since they were recorded? Or was it just your way to support Tomas as he is a good friend of yours? Perhaps a mixture of both?
I guess it was a mixture of both. I can't listen to that stuff myself, I prefer teh album versions. But people seem to be interested in those demos, so why the hell not. There's alot of bangers who wasn't around when those tapes were released, so it's kinda cool. Isn't it?

Despite being considered as a cult act in Sweden it doesn’t seem as Merciless have gained any bigger succes in the international scene. For instance, from where have you gained most response about your re-union and from where do you get most of your letters?
I suppose it's because we've had some bad luck with labels for an example. We never got the chance to promote our albums properly, with a tour through Europe. But Sweden has always been a good market for us. And this new thing? I don't know yet.

Excluding ”The Treasures Within” as Active Records proved to be the worst ripp-off label, do you know how many albums you’ve sold?
2 or 3 copies maybe? Honestly, I don't have a fucking clue! But it aint many, that's for sure. Too bad really, because there are some people out there who really would like a copy. Don't ask me why, haha! It's not bad, I've heard worse.

Before we end this, I’ve never heard the reason for why you stopped writing for Putrefaction Magazine. Can you perhaps tell me why?
I just got bored with it. Tomas and I had different opinions about a few things, and as you know he created Putrefaction, it's his mag. So, nowadays he can do whatver he wants with Putrefaction without me complaining about this and that, haha! And I had really hard time listening to all the crap we got to the mag, I think you should support the music in a honest way. And if I do that it all turns out like shit, because 90% of the CDs and demos we got was third class Black Metal, and I can't stand that, it's boring to turn down 90% of the music, I hope you get my point here? (Yes! I totally agree! I receive really much crap too. - ed) So this is the end... ......I'd like to thank you for a great interview, I hope my answers were OK?
Pure Hate!