By Heath Fenton
VANCOUVER — Musically speaking, Gothenburg, Sweden is best known for pioneering melodic death metal, which makes a band like Graveyard stick out like an oddly shaped tree in the deep northern forest. They mix a refreshing sound that branches the likes of American southern blues, psychedelia, and hard rock. Since 2007, Graveyard have been slaying with four full length albums, building a rabid following in their home country. With major North American tours opening for bands like Soundgarden, Clutch, and CKY, that popularity has now began to grow in a cult like fashion on this side of the pond. They now find themselves headlining their own shows.
“Sweden has always been very into America. So American sounding music is generally well received here,” bassist Truls Morck explains. “I think Graveyard sound like a lot of different stuff put together and is not very easy to pin down. People call us all sorts of things here because for some reason people need to label and organize [a] thing to understand it. Most of the things people call us are true to some extent but often the opposite.”
One thing you can’t deny is that Graveyard knows how to get to the bottom of a pot of serious rock and roll gumbo. While not entirely reinventing the wheel and wearing their influences on their sleeve, Graveyard is still able to stir up a unique sound that they can call their own special sauce. “The obvious would be to drop names like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, or Fleetwood Mac, all three unbelievable great bands. But it isn’t that simple,” Morck goes on. “I think we’re more like a product of everything we hear and see. We don’t usually talk much about other bands while writing songs. The goal is to let everything float through and just go with gut feeling and intuition when writing. That’s what moulds the band’s sound.”
Similar in approach to bands like Clutch or Orange Goblin, Graveyard has flirted with an accessible sound but still remain firmly steeped in the underground, at least for now. The momentum seems to be building like a snowball. Morck has noticed this. “We put [a lot of] thought into building our band slow and steady to make it last long. Today that seems to be the big challenge. To last and continue to make interesting music while keeping people’s attention. Graveyard has come a long way already and that is great. We just do what we’re best at, the better you do that, the better road you travel. Hopefully we’ll get to do that for some more time.”
The band is rounded out by fellow Scandinavian mustachioed hair farmers Axel Sjoberg on drums, and Joakim Nilsson and Jonatan Larocca-Ramm both on guitars and vocals. They take the business of rock seriously and definitely have the chops to make this a long term thing. They give you the best of both worlds. Some tunes give you a wildly swinging a machete, navigating your way through a swamp, while others leave you gazing up at the sun while tripping out in a field of poppies.
“We always mix the up-tempo rockers with the slower moody stuff to fulfill the spectrum,” Morck sums up. “A good thing about our live set is how we balance between playing exactly how they are on the records and how we can pick up the atmosphere and mood of the moment and kind of tweak the way we play to fit it. Every show is a little different because of that.”
Graveyard is on course to take over North America with its own version of a southern fried Trojan horse. So you best be one of the cool cats and get inside now!
Graveyard perform at Venue December 12.BC, British Columbia, Graveyard, Venue