Wolverine Blues (Columbia)
An interview with Lars Garanpetrov and Alex Hellid
by Joe Hacking
There’s nothing quite like the tortured groan of tuned down guitars to set the spinal column to shivering, and death metal craftsmen Entombed wield their tuned-below-sea-level sound with utmost precision on their new Columbia release, Wolverine Blues. I recently got a chance to ask guitarist Alex Hellid and singer Lars Garanpetrov some questions about the new album and Entombed’s humble beginnings.
How low are you guys tuned?
Alex: We’re tuned down to C flat. That’s one half tone below Black Sabbath.
What inspired the title Wolverine Blues?
Alex: James Elroy’s book The Big Nowhere. It deals with a murderer who is influenced by the hunting instincts of the wolverine. The connection with the Marvel character is a coincidence.
What were your early influences?
Alex: A lot of underground bands basically, because we did a lot of tape trading with American bands. The whole underground scene, that’s what we were all about in the beginning. Bands like Master, Repulsion, Autopsy…
Lars: Death Strike…
Alex: And Slayer, of course. That’s what we wanted to be, what we wanted to sound like. We managed to put our own sound together out of all those influences.
Lars: It was the type of music that we wanted to play. We were just happy to play our music, we didn’t have any intentions to make records.
What was the early underground scene like?
Alex: It was TOTALLY underground back then, and that was cool, you know. Now a little bit of that is lost.
Lars: People are making bands with a goal to make records. We think that is the wrong way to do it.
What death metal bands do you guys listen to?
Lars: Autopsy, but that’s just because they’re our friends. (laughs)
Alex: And the bands that are still around that were our influences in the beginning.
What do you listen to besides death metal?
Lars: ZZ Top. (laughs)
Alex: Everyone in the band listens to different kinds of music. I like old Sabbath, but I listen to anything that gives me something. I think too many people waste time saying: “I’m a death metal kid” or “I’m a techno kid.” As soon as you put up those walls, you limit yourself.
If you guys could sum up your view of the world in one sentence, what would it be?
Alex: The biggest cancer ever to be seen.
Alex: They’re just all over the fucking place. We don’t like humans the least bit. That about sums it up. And I’m being totally serious.
When are you guys coming to Boston?
Alex: Probably in March. I think we’re gonna do like three tours over here, so you’ll probably be sick of us by the time we leave.