Swedish metallers The Unguided have recently released their latest EP Brotherhood to critical acclaim. Not only does this kick off a new trilogy of future albums, but it also marks a lineup change, with the band debuting their new singer.
So, an important release in many ways, but one that more than lives up to the pressure placed upon it. Find out how below…
Introduce us to The Unguided
Jonathan: The Unguided is a five-piece metal band from Sweden featuring ex-members from bands such as Sonic Syndicate, Dead By April and Shining. The band released its first album entitled ”Hell Frost” in 2011 and has since then released two more albums called ”Fragile Immortality” 2014 and ”Lust and Loathing” 2016.
What are your influences?
Jonathan: Our influences vary a bit since our musical tastes are a bit different within the band. Although this sometimes leads to a bit of debate when it comes to song writing, it allows us to ”paint with a broader brush” so to speak. We try to combine our favourite elements from various types of metal and rock to create a perfect mixture between heavy riffs, melodic synths, screamed vocals and catchy choruses.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Jonathan: Wow, this is a hard one (there are so many things I listen during the day, haha)!
But here are some of my recent favourites in metal:
1. Upon A Burning Body – Straight from the Barrio (album)
2. Imminence – This is Goodbye (single)
3. Normandie – Inguz (album)
4. Carnifex – Slow Death (album)
5. I See Stars – Treehouse (album)
Brotherhood is your first release with your new singer – can you tell us the story behind the change in lineup?
Jonathan: The main reason for Roland’s recent departure from The Unguided was that he simply didn’t have the time for 2 very demanding jobs, a wife and children and a touring, record producing band at the same time. Family always comes first and even though he won’t tour with the band he will not be excluded entirely and will contribute as a co-producer and sometimes doing guest appearances on albums to come. Taking the band in this new direction was a mutual agreement and it was very important for us that there was no hint of bad blood between us.
Does Brotherhood represent a new beginning for the band?
Rich: I’d say with a line-up change it’s always is a bit of a new beginning. Especially when the group is as up close and personal is we are. It always means some adaption for everyone, since the group dynamic is different. This is the second member change since the formation 2010 and seeing other bands changing musicians like they change underwear I don’t think that’s too bad. Current line-up is something like The Unguided 3.0 for us and we are very confident in the future. However, there already was an ongoing plan of change after the third album anyway, so I’m kind of relieved that this radical change happened now and not in the middle of the trilogy or let’s say, after the fourth album or something. I would have had a hard time to get that right in my mind. But now it felt more like, Roland and the rest of us, finished what we started with “Lust and Loathing”, and now it’s time to head into new adventures with Jonathan.
Jonathan, how have you adapted to life in The Unguided?
Jonathan: I have definitely adapted to being a permanent member of The Unguided. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t a hard thing to do. All the guys in the band have big hearts and have from our very first rehearsal made me feel very welcome. Prior to playing with The Unguided, I had never been on long tours or recorded in real studio which made the whole thing a bit of a risky move for the band. Because of this, I can’t thank the guys enough for giving me a chance and letting me in. I am very proud to be a part of this!
What has the fan feedback been like so far to the change?
Jonathan: The feedback has been way more positive than anticipated, as the brothers had experienced a similar change in their past band, which they didn’t feel went all too well. They had all the reasons in the world to be a bit worried I suppose. The day we released the music video for Nighttaker, I think that a lot of fans were in a state of shock when they realised that Roland had left for the second time. However, after the official statement from the band, Roland and myself was released, where we clarified that it was a mutual decision, that there was no bad blood between us and Roland will still have a part to play in the band, I felt as if things cooled downed a notch or two. I did not expect to get as much positive feedback as I have gotten. People from all over the world have written to me personally, making me feel more than welcome which has been really heartwarming to say the least.
Tell us a bit about the two songs that make up Brotherhood?
Rich: Tradition wise, there’s always been an EP with 2 songs kind of representing the upcoming album before it’s even released or recorded. And yet again this EP is the sample of what is to come. Both songs are lyrically continuing the story of its semi-conceptual predecessors and kind of picks up the thread, right where it was dropped on the last song of “Lust and Loathing”. The last album’s lyrical content was mostly woven around a story that’s been carried through the trilogy of albums already released, and even if it was a happy end to the trilogy, there was also a subtle warning. These songs are touching upon that distress a bit and also takes us deeper and beyond the story to set the stage for the upcoming album.
How were the songs written?
Jonathan: Every member of the band was involved in the writing process for our latest release. Since none of us live in the same city, writing songs can at times be a bit of a struggle but everyone was very dedicated and excited about making as good songs as possible. In Nighttaker for instance, we even wrote individual vocal melodies. As a singer, this is something that I’m not very used to since I tend to write on my own. However, everyone in the group has a very good ear for melodies and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we couldn’t be happier with the results.
Which one is your favourite track and why?
Rich: I wouldn’t be able to choose between Nighttaker or Daybreaker, they both turned out really great.
I hear you’re planning a new album for 2017 – what can you reveal so far about this release?
Rich: Unfortunately I can’t tell you much, but I can reveal that the studio is booked and that everyone is very focused on writing right now and the material is amazing. Much more I can’t really say at this point. You’ll have one hell of a metal album to look forward to in 2017 through, I can assure you that.
Apart from this, what else does 2017 bring for The Unguided?
Rich: If it’s half as productive as 2016, this year will surely be one to remember! Ha ha, new album, a lot of great shows and all the exciting new adventures that comes with that.
Any final words?
Rich: Save our souls 😉