Björn Pettersson (In Mourning) interviewed

** Sweden’s In Mourning are one of the country’s most unsung death metal acts–melodic, if you’re looking for an additional qualifier. Formed in 2000, the band took a good eight years before inking a deal with Norwegian indie Aftermath Music. Two years later, In Mourning dropped Monolith on the Pulverised label to great acclaim. But it wouldn’t be until 2012’s The Weight of Oceans where the Swedes found their sound and audience. Moored by the indomitable “A Vow to Conquer the Ocean”, In Mourning’s third album crushed Year End Lists and set the stage for In Mourning to take on the mantle Opeth left behind on the Heritage effort. Well, In Mourning have returned with Afterglow, an album four years in the making. With the drummer Daniel Liljekvist (ex-Katatonia) and a pack of killer songs in “Below Rise To The Above”, “Fire and Ocean”, and 10-minute monster “The Grinning Mist”. Decibel found guitarist Björn Pettersson prepping for the release of Afterglow.

Afterglow is four years in the making. What do you think separates Afterglow from The Weight of Oceans?
Björn Pettersson: I’d say they are two quite different albums; they sound pretty different. We’ve got a new drummer with Daniel and his style of playing is pretty different from Christian’s. We’ve worked with Jonas Martinsson as a producer which was new to us, he’s a good friend of ours and a really talented sound engineer. Those are two major things that differ on this album from the previous. Also the fact that four years has passed since the last release. We’ve all grown in different directions since then, we’ve had kids and lots of other big and small things has happened, which I guess in one way or another all have influenced the writing. However, the albums are parts of the same story, Afterglow takes off where Weight ends, and I think that we’ve managed to keep some consistent vibe between the albums.

Musically, what were some of the challenges you faced while writing Afterglow?
Björn Pettersson: Finding a new drummer when Christian decided to quit was one challenge I suppose, although it really landed amazingly with Daniel. I’d say the songs of this new album are a bit more complex than our earlier stuff and as we had been working for so long with the songs as instrumentals it was really a challenge getting some of the vocals to feel right to the songs, sometimes even to find room for vocals at all.

If you were to play a song off Afterglow to a person who has never heard In Mourning before, which song would it be and why?
Björn Pettersson: I think I’d go with “Below Rise To The Above”, because it is quite representative of what we do and all the sides of it. It contains a bit of our softer sides and some harsher stuff, plus I think it’s a good song.

Daniel Liljekvist (ex-Katatonia) replaced Christian Netzell on drums. How has the change in drummer affected In Mourning?
Björn Pettersson: Well, first off as I mentioned above they have pretty different styles of playing drums. Most of the material for the album was already written before Daniel joined, even though we rehearsed and rearranged things together before we started recording much of the material was already there. Still he has given his own touch to everything and I think it wouldn’t have been the same album without him. Daniel has a lot of feeling and flow in his playing, he’s got a certain sound that I think is unique to him. I’m really looking forward to a next album with Daniel on board from the beginning of the process.

Tell us about the cover art. It’s Necrolord.
Björn Pettersson: Yes, it’s Kristian Wåhlin’s work again. We knew already from the last album that we wanted to make this one a follow up and that we wanted Kristian to paint the cover art for it. We were really amazed by the last one and we wanted to give the same vibes to this cover.

You also moved over to Agonia from Spinefarm. Was that a strategic move insofar as getting on a label where you’d get more attention?
Björn Pettersson: We did change labels. I really think it has been a good thing, the guys at Agonia have a lot of ideas and I’d say this is shaping up to be the most proper release we’ve had so far. I think we’ve connected better with Agonia. We had a good time with the release of Weight through Spinefarm, but around that release we all started getting kids to left and right and we couldn’t really support the album as much as we might have thought. I suppose we might not really have been a record labels dream at that point, we parted ways and I kind of think it was for the best.

What’s on In Mourning’s plate for the rest of 2016?
Björn Pettersson: First off to release the new album. That’s still on our plate until the end of the week when I write this. We have some few live shows booked, we’re playing a festival back home, plus we’re visiting Poland and Romania. There are some other vague plans too, but nothing certain enough to announce. We’ve got some ideas for a few possible live shows and we might have a non-Afterglow related release coming within the year too.

** In Mourning’s new album, Afterglow, is out May 20th on Agonia Records. Pre-orders are available HERE in physical form. For the digital aficionado, high quality audio can be obtained HERE at Bandcamp.