Swedish Metal Squad BOMBER Combine Maiden and Lep Influences with “Black Pants Magic” on Their Killer Debut

As it turns out, late winter/early spring 2022 brings a massive glut of Swedish metal and hard rock. Between March 1 and May 1, so many major Swedes have released/are releasing albums that it makes one think the fix is in: Ghost, Meshuggah, Watain, Sabaton, Dark Funeral, the Hellacopters… even our favorite adventure rockers Halläs.

It seems that young Malmö-based upstarts Bomber got the memo. After self-releasing the promising but underproduced Arrival EP in 2017, they’ve just unloaded their full-length debut, Nocturnal Creatures. It’s easily the best synthesis of ’70s hard rock and ’80s metal that we’ve heard in years. With Def Leppard style hooks, Judas Priest anthemics and Maiden/Lizzy-esque guitar harmonies (not to mention a Number of the Beast-inspired spoken intro), it’s exactly what we need after two years of pandemic doom and gloom. Scope the video for their skyscraping single “A Walk of Titans (Hearts Will Break)” immediately—if not sooner—and check out our interview with Bomber guitarist/vocalist Anton Sköld below.

What inspired the formation of Bomber? 

Bomber was formed by me and bass player Love Andersson. We were about 15 years old, just hanging out every day at our childhood homes listening to old Iron Maiden records and watching live VHS tapes with bands like Metallica and Judas Priest. Eventually, we started to write songs together. At first, we wanted to look and sound just like Iron Maiden—like so many before us. As the years went by, we slowly got more and more professional about stuff, and while we played in many different bands the idea of having our own band remained. In 2016(-ish) we finally decided to record a debut EP and we’ve been developing and growing as musicians and friends ever since!

Many newer bands who play in a ’70s hard rock style tend to favor the stoner direction. Mercifully, you do not—and you add killer ’80s influences. Why is this important to you? 

It’s not really a conscious decision. We don’t really listen to stoner rock, and never have. The 80s has always been such a massive inspiration for us, both sound-wise and aesthetically. While we grew up on heavy metal, we listen just as much to ’80s pop artists such as Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac and Madonna. But we don’t see ourselves as a retro-thing. We just throw whatever inspires us in a big pile and somehow that usually turns out into something unique yet familiar.

You guys have fantastic twin guitar interplay. Why are two guitars better than one? 

Thank you! I mean, twin guitars are such a big thing in good rock music. Take an album like Defenders of the Faith by Judas Priest or The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden. You have the best guitarists in the world, but they focus one hundred percent on team-playing. That creates this thick wall of sound that moves so organically through time and space. You can really hear their friendship through their playing—they’re so in sync. Me and [guitarist] Max [Huddén] work like that, too. He’s one of my closest friends and I trust him completely. I don’t need to look up at what he’s doing because we just have this natural connection when we play. It’s great fun!

What inspired “A Walk of Titans (Hearts Will Break)”? 

That is a very moody piece. I tend to write songs inspired by a specific feeling in a given situation. In that case I came home one night after having been through a breakup in my personal life while at the same time we had to say goodbye to an old band member. I listened to the song “Memorial” by Susanne Sundfør, had a glass of wine and wrote like 90 percent of the music in one session. The lyrics—much like the Susanne song—depict the end of a relationship before a backdrop of the end of the world. The world falls apart and so do we, you know. Given the situation in Ukraine, the opening verse feels eerily relevant: Can you hear the ocean call, can you hear the thunder roar? Stranger times are coming—wolves at the door. Chimera’s calling us—and with a changing of the guards the hammer of the gods will fall upon us. 

Please tell us about that excellent embroidered white suit you’re wearing in the “Walk of Titans” video.

That’s actually my stage suit for upcoming shows. I designed it with a most excellent designer in Sweden, Amanda Siljebratt. It costs a fortune, but, hey, this is show biz! If you look closely, you will find references to the songs on the album.

You’ve also got a video for the song “Zarathustra.” How would you describe the song’s lyrical theme, and where did you shoot the beach/ocean scenes? 

This is another one with parallel themes, because it’s originally inspired by a state of emotion. The song was the first we wrote when the new lineup of the band was settled. After years of looking for the right members, we finally became the band we set out to be. In a way, we were reborn after some rough and depressing years. The Zarathustra myth as told by Nietzsche fitted the feeling perfectly so we kind of expanded on that, and I threw in a few references to Robert Plant and Zeppelin as well because I was listening a lot to Plant’s solo records at that time. The video was shot at Hovs Hallar, where Ingmar Bergman shot the legendary Seventh Seal movie. It was freezing cold!

You have a song called “Black Pants Magic.” What’s the story there?

That is my take on the classic Def Leppard, having a night out scoring girls/guys. I’ve always felt that there can be so much angst and feelings of insecurity in going out partying, so I wanted to make it a bit more realistic. The protagonist goes out partying, feeling really cool in his new hot black pants. But then in the pre-chorus and second verse things get a bit more depressing as the key goes a bit more minor. The title is actually a story in itself. I had just gotten these new black pants and got some compliments for them from a girl I fancied. And then while strolling down the street with an old friend he suddenly said this thing – I still don’t know what he actually said – but the words I heard were “Black Pants Magic.” I told him what I’d heard him say and he thought it would be a fun title for a song. I agreed!

What are some of your favorite ’80s metal and hard rock albums? 

The Number of the Beast is my all-time favorite album. But I also love the big classic albums by Metallica, Judas Priest and Def Leppard. For the album. I was mostly inspired by Tango in the Night by Fleetwood Mac and Pyromania by Def Leppard. Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osborne is another favorite.

What’s next for Bomber? 

After we release the album worldwide on March 25, we start off the gigs for the Nocturnal Creatures album cycle with Sweden Rock Festival, the major rock festival in Sweden. After that, we wanna bring our big classic rock show to all the international stages. See you on the road somewhere!

Bomber’s debut LP, Nocturnal Creatures, is out today on Napalm Records.