Swedish melodic death metal formation The Unguided hit hard with their upcoming full-length Father Shadow, to be released on October 9th via Napalm Records. With their new long-player, these Nordic heavyweights – who are all former members of Sonic Syndicate – prove that they can’t be pigeonholed.
Eleven quick-tempered, high-voltage pieces indicate that The Unguided have liberated themselves from the shadows of the past but are still aware of their manifold roots. The explosive full-length breaks down the barriers between melodic death metal, metalcore, and fitting electronic sounds. Clean hooklines explode in classifying screams, leading up to a unique symbiosis of pure harshness. With brutal shouts, an unmistakable catchy chorus, and a huge chunk of honest words, “Crown Prince Syndrome” unveils the burden of an innate identity. The perfect symbiosis of Richard Sjunnesson’s forceful vocal pitch and Jonathan Thorpenberg’s clean vocals convinces to the fullest extent. Tracks like the banger “Never Yield” and “War of Oceans” pierce straight into your eardrums. Let yourself be drawn into the deep, dark underbelly of “Stand Alone Complex”, capturing your mind with ruthlessly harsh drums. “Gaia”, featuring Erik Engstrand, marks a new chapter in the era of The Unguided: harder, faster but always on point. With heavy-handed cover versions of their own classic Sonic Syndicate tracks “Jailbreak”, “Denied” and “Jack of Diamonds”, the four-piece also thrives in reminiscence – and reveals a new musical entity. Follow The Unguided into the deep shadows of the past and the abyss of the future! Here’s our interview with the band’s founding member, Richard Sjunnesson.
The Unguided is turning 10 years old this year – how Sonic Syndicate turned into The Unguided, and what happened during those years?
“I think what happened was that there was a lot of frustration in how a band that my brother and I started as a creative passion became an industrial money-making machine and somewhere around 2008 the feeling of going back to that essence started to grow. I decided during the recording of “We Rule The Night” that I would exit the band and did, so in 2010 to form The Unguided. And the new band would be all about the creativity and art of music and not too much about the whole business side. I was pretty vocal about leaving Sonic Syndicate and I feel nowadays that I might have best tried to shut my mouth a bit more than I did because it kind of divided the fan base and I feel that was unnecessary. I don’t think all old fans are down and dirty with The Unguided as some just want us to do Only Inhuman all over again but we kind of grew from that and want to explore our own creativity and that’s what you get in the new band.”
And the biggest challenge was…
“Keeping the members in the band apparently. (laughs) No, but I think during a 10 year period having 3 people leaving and being replaced with 2 people might be a bit much turn over for any band. But then again I’m glad that the 4 of us in the band currently is super tight both as friends and also as a unit writing music together, so I guess we all now have landed a bit in the same mentality which might not have been exactly the same if people would not have left.”
“The Unguided have liberated themselves from the shadows of the past but are still aware of their manifold roots” – so, what does that mean?
“Hmm, I didn’t write that personally but I would think what they mean is leaving the whole Sonic Syndicate thing a bit behind but still staying true to our sound, which I think we did already on the last album and also with having Roland leaving the band. I think we reinvented ourselves on ‘And The Battle Royale’ and on ‘Father Shadow’ we reinvented ourselves even more. Leaving the old band behind is now ironical with us doing covers of 3 of our old songs. (laughs)”
What was the biggest challenge during the working process of the new album?
“I would say the time pressure. The studio was booked on a pretty optimistic schedule and we had to force a bit to get it done in time. I for example nailed all 9 tracks in 3 days. I usually like to record 1,5 song a day but here I had to scream my lounges out for 3 songs a day which was probably the most effective session I’ve had since ‘Eden Fire’ where I recorded 10 songs in one day (laughs), but then again I was 15 years younger back then.”
Inspiration behind Father Shadow
“I think both the conceptual story turned out really good and it was inspiring to write lyrics out from that and also what was going on in my life currently was very inspiring and is captured good in the lyrics.”
Did COVID-19 affect the album release or the band somehow?
“Well, that’s the funny thing, it didn’t. This is still the original release plan. Of course, it’s a bit sad to not be able to tie it with a tour but I mean we are going to do a headline tour for the album eventually when the world has healed a bit. And we also said we are not going to delay the release as if there’s something we can give back to the fans in this very weird period on earth, we’ll give it to them. When it came to the band and its members it’s just been a marginal effect on us as we have our honest jobs on the side and are not fully dependent on the band.”
Message to the fans:
The new album, ‘Father Shadow’ has a little bit of everything for everyone, so check it out! Stay healthy and take care of our planet!
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Photo credit: Patric Ullaeus
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