Sweden’s Chronus have had a relatively short lifespan — about six years. What they’ve accomplished in that span is nothing short of awesome. From the group’s debut EP Lost at Sea to the self-financed (now licensed to David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group) self-titled LP, the native sons of Helsingborg are in it to win it. No kidding. Lead time keeper The Baron (aka frontman/guitarist Sebastian Axelsson) has a win-it-all attitude. He’s positioning his band not just for the next album, but the album after the next one. Chronus, ironically, aren’t in the moment, but two-three steps ahead of it.
Musically, Chronus configure bands like Mastodon, Ghost, Metallica, and Gojira into a single formula that’s heavy, intelligent, catchy, and momentous. To wit, lead-off track “City of Light” positioned Chronus on social media to kill all preconceptions that heavy metal, in modern or retro form, isn’t innovative. The follow-up single “Baron” solidified Chronus as a genuine contender for what’s next. Combined, they’ve signaled to the genre that with hard-work, will power, and unparalleled musical chops, the world is conquerable, even from all the way up in Sweden.
Decibel sat down, on a digital set of chairs, with The Baron to learn more about Chronus, the positioning — both musically and aesthetically — of the band, and how the band are willing to sacrifice all to be top of the heavy metal heap. Read on and stream the new video for “Avarice,” too!
How did Chronus get started? I know you guys were big Metallica fans.
The Baron: When I was a kid, above the clouds in the City Of Light, Chronus already was an idea. I was getting mentally and physically prepared to lead the band to glory. At the age of eight, we were enrolled in the same learning facility and in the evenings we battled out riffs. Metallica was always the main inspiration. They are looked upon as gods where we come from.
Now that you’ve had the chance to settle in, musically, how would you describe your sound? There’s Metallica, Mastodon, Gojira, and maybe a bit of present-day Opeth.
The Baron: We are honored to be likened to bands such as Metallica and Gojira. When I hear something different, something that speaks to me, that’s when I absorb it. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done, and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing. We’ve been taught that Picasso had a saying: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
How old are the songs in general? They have a nice flow to them.
The Baron: Thank you, sir! Some of the songs are 2-3 years old, some of them older. I have an old casket in my chamber where we put all the riffs that have been written. Whenever we decide to write a new song, we open the casket and it is on.
What do you think makes Chronus unique?
The Baron: The fact that we come from another place. There is always something of substance behind every move we make. We were raised to do this. We were raised to spread joy!
The band has a “complete package” thing happening. Music, production, visual aesthetic, cover art, etc. How much work are you putting into Chronus to make it all feel uniform and pro?
The Baron: The patterns of what in the future will become different eras are not random. There’s a couple of hundred hours behind everything. There is already artwork for album number three. There are already riffs written for album number two. The new clothes are already sewn. Our illustrator is painting my portrait while I’m writing this. This is just the beginning.
Does Chronus have a specific message?
The Baron: Chronus was formed for multiple reasons. There is always a thought out plan for every move. The reason why we are here is to spread joy upon the people, to light up people’s lives and share the flame that forever will burn amongst the four of us. We are here to create and this was meant to be from the very first outset.
What are the kinds of things that inspire the songwriting and lyric writing?
The Baron: The music and lyrics are a link to what we feel when we look down upon the Earth from where we live. There is a scourge, and the fragile crust that is the Earth will not be around forever. Therefore we create something that helps people in times of desperation. As for the lyrics, I try to recreate the feelings I’ve felt so many times before, whether it is beauty or outbreak.
The self-titled album sounds great! What were the sessions at HH-Studios like?
The Baron: The sessions were great! Sheltered, secluded and competent, just as we like it. Perfect for smashing our creative minds together. We recorded the album in one week.
Who mixed and mastered the album? It’s spotless yet still “warm” and heavy.
The Baron: We sent one of our own, Svante [Furevi; guitars/vocals]. He mixed it together with the one and only Richard Larsson, the rightful owner of HH-Studios. As for the mastering, that would be Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson at the Panic Room, far away from where we dwell.
Did you have a sound model in mind? Something like Metallica’s self-titled mixed with Gojira’s Magma?
The Baron: Yes. We had both of these albums in mind during the final phase. We were looking for that organic yet punchy sound. The vibe that you feel is the vibe we wanted to create.
Your self-titled album was self-released in 2017. I’m surprised something like Chronus would go released without a major metal label swooping in to release it. Why did you opt to self-release?
The Baron: At first, it was an obvious choice. We wanted to be the masters of our own domain. We got a great response from all over the world. People sent letters to tell us how much they enjoyed the album. We were pleased… Very pleased.
The album is finally making its way to North America via Dave Ellefson’s EMP label. What’s that like for Chronus? Dream come true or merely another step in the evolution/progression of the band?
The Baron: One day, we got a different letter, this time from Mr. David Ellefson. He asked us if we were interested in joining his label. We saw the perks of being on a well-known label. A fair deal for us, and a fair deal for his label, EMP. A big step in the right direction. The conquest has begun!
What’s next for Chronus?
The Baron: To reign.
** Chronus’ new album, Chronus, is out August 17th on EMP Label Group. Pre-order yours HERE.