Maim are one of many, many Swedish death metal bands. In fact, there are so many Swedish guys playing "old school" death metal that they have their own X Factor just for the genre. It could have been a useful filtration device, but unfortunately the only acts who get through are those who come armed with a sob story about how they come from a broken cave or their dragon has wing cancer. One of the bands to emerge from the steaming dung pile like a magic mushroom in season are Maim, whose second album is one of the finest releases of the year so far.
I caught up with guitarist Scott, who's also a live member for previous interviewees Morbus Chron. Both acts will be playing at this year's Live Evil festival, which takes place in Camden next month.
VICE: Hey Scott. So, where should we start?
Scott: Maybe some background info, since there seems to be a very old biography out there that says we're influenced by Defleshed and the death 'n' roll scene. No idea where that came from.
Yep! Me and Chris started the band back in 2006, and I pretty much invited my old friends Rikard and Otto, who are cousins – NOT brothers, like so many people seem to write. We started making music straight away while also rehearsing old death metal tracks – Autopsy, Morbid Angel, etc. Towards the end of 2007 we recorded our first demo, which has never been released properly, although some people got homemade copies on tape and a few songs ended up on MySpace, that was it.
Were you surprised by the underground being so kind to you from the off?
Yeah. Out of the blue we got a comment from Scott Carlson of Repulsion on our MySpace, saying something like "old and grimy death, just the way I like it," which was amazing, especially back in 2007 when the whole "retro death" scene were still in its cradle. Then we got the offer from him to release a full-length via Soulseller, which we were super-thrilled by as he had just released Epitome Of Darkness by Repugnant.
So it went from a MySpace comment to "let's release your record"?
Something like that, yes. Everything went so quick, a bit too quickly, actually. We did initially plan to release the demo recording as a full-length, but it was too short for an album so we decided to re-record some of the songs from the demo and add a few new ones. Erik Danielsson from Watain did the artwork, so we basically went from 0-100 in a few months.
So, your second album, for me, was actually better than your debut. How do you feel it compares?
Deceased To Exist is way superior than From The Womb To The Tomb as it was made in a bit of a rush. We didn't initially have enough material for a full-length when we were about to release the debut, so it's basically a bit patched together. Deceased To Exist was well thought through from the beginning. We knew how we wanted the album to sound, and also had the LP format in mind this time.
So, what other bands are you into and what do you make of the Uppsala scene?
So many good bands out there: Obliteration, Miasmal, Entrapment from Holland, Vanhelgd… Regarding the Uppsala scene, I like the demos from Katalysator and Degial, but I'm not really into the Watain/Dissection approach to metal - it's too pretentious for me. I'm more into the DIY punk/crust attitude. It lies closer to our easy-going approach to music and way of life in general, I think.
So, let's now talk about Live Evil. It is a hell of a line-up again, huh?
It's great! Antichrist, Maim, Morbus Chron, In Solitude, Aura Noir… Nekromantheon as warm-up – can't wait! Such a killer line-up! But yeah, I play live with Morbus Chron, so two shows for me.
Nice. You psyched to play your first UK show?
Oh yeah! I lived in London for a couple of years so got a lot of friends there and have been to many gigs at the Underworld. Can't wait! Hope we come back for a whole tour sometime.
What stuff do you listen to outside of metal?
I listen to a lot of different music, but recently I've been listening a lot to old American hardcore and '82 British punk. Stuff like Inepsy, GBH, Negative Approach, Minor Threat, Antitode etc. Along with that, Blue Öyster Cult and Jethro Tull. A nice mix in my world! Hehe. Metal got a lot to learn from punk!
Any last words? Not that I'm going to send a death squad round to your place now that I'm done interviewing you or anything.
Well, a big hail to all the dedicated people out there! And fuck racism, sexism, and idealism! The terrorist attack in Norway is just a big proof that something needs to be done. People need to start communicating over cultural and social borders! We are not very political – leaving that to the punks – but want to take the opportunity to say something 'cause it matters!
Listen: Maim - "Evil Smell of Death"
Listen: Maim - "Crematory"
That is the current line-up for Live Evil, with Revenge from Greece having just been added. The free pre-show is at our own Old Blue Last the night before the darkness descends. Flyer below.
PHOTOS: FREDRIC SOMMER