Henrik Palm F*cks Genres on His First Solo Album

Photo by Fredrik Bernholm

Henrik Palm isn’t used to seeing his name at the top of posters, let alone on the covers of records. Even when communicating by text, he comes across first and foremost as humble, maybe even bashful. “Unfortunately I’m not privileged with a cool name like Don Costa or Tom Angelripper,” Palm says. “Blame my parents!”

The Swedish multi-instrumentalist is no stranger to playing on stage. For five years he played guitar in In Solitude while that band became ‘a thing’. Until it wasn’t. In Solitude split up in 2015 and Palm’s tenure in Ghost ended the year after. Palm stockpiled songs of his own during that time. Raw rock and roll with a punk edge and a profound sense of weirdness, those songs are now collected on Many Days his first solo record, streaming here.

“My vision was to make a really dark album and to get away from metal as much as I could. I’m kind of done with metal but I still wanted it to be heavy,” Palm says. According to him, seventy percent of his musical diet consists of raw punk with some Trouble, Celtic Frost, Throbbing Gristle and My Bloody Valentine to round things out. That disparate collection of artists all share a certain willingness to go their own way and break from convention, which Palm shares. “I like to mix ugly sounds with pretty sounds and I love to experiment with weird instruments, tunings and anything that make the song better, creepier, more beautiful or whatever. […] Fuck genres. Identity and feeling is more important,” he says.

Palm covers a wide range of sounds on Many Days. The instrumental “F43.8” was meant to be an In Solitude song that the band never finished. “Elephant” wraps Spacemen 3 riffs around a gated reverb drum machine line. Guest vocals from Youth Code’s Sara Taylor and longtime collaborator Anna Norberg add further variety. Norberg especially goes out of her way to make “Rats” and “(I Hate) People” even more distinctive than her features on “Poisoned, Blessed and Burned” and “They Rode On”. Consider those genre boundaries properly fucked.

Palm recorded Many Days in one weekend-long whirlwind at his old haunt Studio Cobra. He says the studio is “almost like my living room at this point. The process is always smooth and we all are really open-minded. [Producer Martin ”Konie” Ehrencrona] has tons of weird instruments and synthesizer that you always end up using in one way or another.” Ehrencrona in particular seems to be the key bringing Palms relaxed-but-off-the-wall ideas to fruition. “He has a very genuine metal background but he also is very much into all the other weird stuff that I listen to: hardcore, 60s psychedelia, krautrock, shoegaze, blah blah blah. See? Our ideas match really well.”

Americans probably can’t expect to see Palm play Many Days in the flesh any time soon, though. In October he plans to open two shows with Voivod, a band that helped foster his disdain for convention. After, Palm plans on focusing on new material instead of playing out. Palm already has plans for a second solo record and new material with his other project Södra Sverige. “The rest of the time I will just continue being a record collecting low life-nerd,” he says. Many Days echoes that sentiment exactly. Only a voracious listener with darkly Catholic taste could produce the record. Trading in corpse paint for studio headphones suits Henrik Palm just fine.