Meet The Resistance, a death and thrash metal assault force from Sweden featuring ex-members of legendary brigades such as In Flames and The Haunted. The band is ready to unleash their sonic artillery to the masses at large, with their combustible full-length debut Scars soon to be available through Armoury Records. Highwire Daze recently spoke with guitarist Jesper Strömblad, best known as for his axe-work and songwriter skills for the mighty In Flames. Other members within The Resistance include second guitarist Glenn Ljungström (also ex-In Flames), vocalist Marco Aro (ex-The Haunted, Facedown) and drummer Chris Barkensjö (ex-Kaamos, ex-Repugnant). And now we shall press forth and join The Resistance in progress! Read on…
For fans of In Flames, how does The Resistance compare to your previous band?
Well, I would have to say, if I have to compare, The Resistance is a totally different band. The only common thing is that me and Glenn use to play in In Flames. So I guess musically, it’s much more simple. It’s heavy and aggressive and it comes from another school I would say. I wanted to do something that all of us wanted to do – like keep it simple. A little bit more of death metal style – also, we have some melodies but they are very, very restricted so to speak. So I would say for fans of In Flames, do not expect to hear what they think they would. If you would call In Flames the Ambassadors of Gothenburg sound, I would say that The Resistance – we’re talking to a step back and have done something of a marriage between the Stockholm and Gothenburg sound.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Scars?
It’s not a concept album and I am not the one who actually writes the lyrics – it’s Marco. But the lyrics basically are about the source that you always can find inspiration – and that’s like bitterness, hate, abuse, addiction – it’s a lot of Marco’s personal feelings. Some of the songs are dealing with his former addiction and that’s also something I can relate to – about people that should be alive today but are not because of the drugs. And it’s also a kick in the teeth for people that more less counted me out and counted us out as musicians, because of my issues and everything. It’s not a concept; it’s just really “fuck you.” It’s hard to explain – it’s hate and addiction and stuff we deal with, and we do it through making awesome energy in our music. And Marco screams his fucking lungs out! And hopefully people that crank the album can also get this feeling that they get a soundtrack to their frustrations. Everyone can relate. Everyone has someone who has been affected by addiction. Some of them have someone they want to kick their fucking teeth in – so everyone can relate to it! And it’s not more complicated – that’s what it’s all about. It’s really “fuck you” death metal. The lyrics are not meant to be revolutionary. It’s a whole different level of energy and aggressiveness when you listen to the album.
What was it like working with Glenn of In Flames again and how did he become involved with The Resistance?
It started with me and Marco talking about starting something up again. We didn’t want to do the dog years again, we just wanted to do the good stuff and have fun again. And we were talking about who should be the second guitar player and I was like, “Well I should call Glenn,” because I hadn’t talked to him in ten years. We kind of drifted apart because of various reasons. He moved out of town. He got a family and has a quite demanding job. So I just called him up and asked, “Do you want to dust off your old guitar and decide to jam with me again. And we’ll see what comes up.” And he was like, “Hell yeah! I’ve been waiting for this call for years!” He was all excited. So we met up, we had a great time – it was like two weeks had gone by. He’s the same jerk that he’s always been and I love him to death. He just picked up the guitar and said, “Well, I’ve had some ideas through the years.” “Okay let’s hear them!” And he started playing and my jaw was dropped! He hadn’t touched the guitar for in ten years, and he’s still one of the most amazing rhythm players there is. It’s quite cool to have him back. For that reason, if you connect, you would see that actually the founders of In Flames is now in this band together – in a whole different style.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the other members of In Flames?
Not really. We split apart already when I had my first hiatus or whatever you call it. And then I did a guest appearance – I played a couple of songs with them onstage – and then I decided to quit. I guess we had the band in common. I bump into them sometimes but we don’t really hang out.
What could one expect from a live The Resistance show and how many times have you played so far?
For a band who has not released any albums yet, we’ve done quite a few shows. I think we have done like 15 shows – no tours – we’ve been doing some small one off gigs here and there in Sweden and Finland – and one in Germany. What you could expect is it’s an awesome energy – it’s like being running over by a tank. It’s not like being compared to a melodic metal band where you are watching the guitar player playing melodies. In this case, it’s more like we are the guys who are backing up Marco – it’s just a wall of awesome metal coming at you. People will go nuts and there will be pits! There will be good violent fun and a lot of blood on the floor. So that’s what I hope and expect to see at a Resistance show.
Is there any chance of The Resistance doing any shows or a tour out here in the States?
There is a very good chance that will happen, yes! I don’t have anything concrete to tell you right now. I know we are waiting for offers and something to jump on. We will be there! It’s just a matter of when. And we will keep you updated on some of the forums we have. As soon as we know something, of course we will deliver the good news. And hopefully people show up and give us a chance and see us live. It’s back to basics! We are establishing the new band. It’s quite new for everyone. I think people shouldn’t miss out, because we put on a hell of a show. And Marco is better than ever – he’s amazing!
One of the first times I ever saw In Flames was at Furnacefest in Birmingham, Alabama. I don’t know if you were at that show or not.
I was there. I remember that very well.
What did you think of that show overall?
Funny you mentioned Furnacefest, because I remember that one really well. I remember that we didn’t quite fit into that bill, and we had to play after Hatebreed. They had some problems so they had to leave, so they said we had to switch places. So Hatebreed did their show and we had to go on after – and that’s not what you want to do. A little Swedish band playing after Hatebreed. We were actually on our way to start the tour with Slayer in San Jose. We had got the offer to do the Furnacefest, so we did it so we could pay for the monitor guy to go. So we called Furnacefest “Arnold Aid,” because our monitor’s guy name is Arnold. So Furnacefest was “Arnold Aid”.” “So we had to go to Alabama to do this show and then we could bring you on the tour.” But we had a great time anyway. We were a little bit too drunk – we were jet lagged and it was hot and it was scary because it was this really, really hardcore festival and we were not really fitting in that well – we thought – so we were really quite nervous. But it was fun.
According to Wikipedia, you scored a soundtrack for a film called Isdraken. What was that experience like and would you want to score films again in the future?
Oh yes! I want to and I will! I’m just more less waiting for the script for the next one, so I can get into the characters and make the themes and stuff happen. So it was an amazing experience. I was a total rookie on how to make scores and how that works. So for me, it started out that I got the offer because the director was a fan of the band – and he wanted to have some metal and he wanted to have some orchestrations – and he ended with me and another guy called Daniel. And we did the whole soundtrack – all of the orchestration stuff and also the metal stuff – some hip-hop – we did everything! It was really challenging, because you realize how much responsibility the composer has to set the mood in the movie. Because what I had to work with – I was sitting in front of a screen in my studio watching a movie – there were no sound effects – there was nothing. It was like watching a rehearsal of a theatre play or something. You are the guy who sets the mood in the movie. It’s really hard and challenging – you have to get the right thing at the right time. If there’s a scene where something sad happens, someone dying – and don’t want to put some polka music on it – it quite destroys the mood. So it’s a very, very delicate process. And we also had the work very close with the director, and he told me how he wanted it to sound. I had to take that in and make a reality of his vision of the music. But we succeeded it and went great. And the movie went to win a lot of awards and sold to like 27 countries – so it was a great success and one awesome experience for me. I can’t wait to do another one.
What’s up next for The Resistance in the immediate future?
We actually shot a video this weekend for the upcoming album that’s coming out May 10th. We shot a video for the opening track called Clearing The Slate. We’re just doing one off shows. As we speak, they are booking as much as they can. There’s a lot in the pipeline, but what’s confirmed is that we’re going to do a show in Finland – we’re going to do a German festival – we’re going to do some one-off shows in Sweden – so it’s not that much as we speak, but it’s a work in progress. So we’ll try to play as much as possible live. We’ve already started writing songs for the next album. We’re so excited! The songs are just pouring out! And that’s what we’re doing.
Any messages for U.S. fans?
If we come to your town, please come on by and check us out. You will not be disappointed. It’s going to be a great experience! It’s going to be a hell of a show! Support us!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
The Resistance on Facebook