About Me

Interview with Mefisto

The underground Metal scene in Sweden produced many great names during the 80s and, by the 90`s, it became one of the most productive countries in the death metal genre. One of those extreme bands was Mefisto, who gained quite a buzz in the underground scene, through their two demos released in 1986, heavily influenced by names like Bathory, Kreator or Metallica. But the band never took off and ceased to exist. At least, until Sweden Rock Magazine wrote a big article about this underground act, that made Mefisto reborn in 2014. Two years later, they released their first full-length ( This Is The End Of It All…The Beginning Of Everything…), which was followed by Mefisto, in 2017. Now, we got Octagram, the newest Mefisto album.
Drummer`s Robban “Thord” Granath kindly answered some of our questions.

M.I. - First of all, thanks for your time answering our questions. Your first releases were some demos back in 1986…Then you split up for 28 years and “reborn” in 2014. Can we say that Mefisto have more than 30 years of existence? 

Well, to  be honest, no. I had no plan to re-unite the band. I had no contact at all with Omar and he had moved to the US. Me and Sandro talked a few times over the phone but that was it. But somehow it happened. I guess it was because of Sweden`s biggest music magazine, Sweden Rock that did a 10-page story about us. And a few years earlier I had picked up the drumming again… One thing led to another and so I got back in touch with Omar with the help of Sweden Rock Magazine. And we decided: “What the hell! Let`s make the album we never made…”

M.I. - What happened after those demos? What stopped you from continuing playing?

I lost interest. Remember that we were very young. There was so much more to explore than hanging in a rehearsal room.

M.I. - Back then, you achieved recognition in the underground scene and gained some cult status. Where do you think you could be today if you had the same support that other bands had? Could you be standing alongside Bathory, Morbid, Candlemass or Meshuggah? 

I may sound cocky... But I think if we had the support and if we had gotten along with each other, we would have been bigger than those bands.

M.I. - Looking back, what would you have done to prevent that almost 30-year break from happening? 

I guess life came in between. I made myself a career, started a family and so on. I always listened to metal and other music but I had no interest in playing.

M.I. - Between those 80`s demos and the first full-length in 2016, what were you doing? Playing in other projects? 

I started playing drums again in 2010 with a coworker (Morgan). Probably a mid-life crisis or something… But it was fun. And then the attention from social media and some magazines made me decide to… “What the hell… Let’s do this!”. But the album was actually not a Mefisto album the way I had planned it. It was Omar`s album. He wrote everything on that album. But since he came all the way back to Sweden, I felt obligated to fulfil the mission. It’s not a bad album. It has got great metal songs. But it’s definitely not Mefisto.

M.I. - What made you resurrect Mefisto? 

When I got back in touch with Omar and Sandro, I felt that we could do this. But to be honest, after just a short time I got really pissed at them both and I started to remember why I decided to split up the band.

M.I. - Your first show as Mefisto, wasn`t that long ago – 2015, in Montreal. What was that like? Were you nervous? How did you prepare that? 

The reason we did our first show in Montreal was because I refused to play in Sweden. I would have been too nervous. But being abroad made me feel secured. It was like a short holiday. It was fun but the show was not that good. We did not have time to rehearse together… Omar did not remember the lyrics, my drumming was bad and so on.

M.I. - About your new album (Octagram)…What kind of feedback have you been receiving (media, fans…)? 

Very good. Most media/fans really like it. And they describe it as very honest. It’s not death, black, thrash, doom…. It’s a mix of everything….

M.I. - What is Octagram about? What do you address lyrically?

It’s kind of a concept album. The lyrics starts with O (Octagram), C (Circulus Est Clasus), T (The cult of death), A (Armageddon), G (Grand demons at war), R (Roots Ov thy soul), A (Alpha and omega), M (Megalomania) The music is very dark. The lyrics are even more dark. It’s about evil and darkness. And the lyrics follow a concept. Very influenced with old-school death metal lyrics but with a deeper thought. You can actually read them like a poem.

M.I. - I`ve read somewhere that you felt your first album ( This Is The End Of It All…The Begining Of Everything…) was not a true Mefisto album. Your second album (Mefisto) was more attached to your roots…What`s the stance on Octagram? It`s a natural successor of Mefisto? Or something more? 

“” was Omar`s album. I just played the drums and co-wrote most of the lyrics. The album Mefisto (2nd) I wrote it together with my friend Morgan. That album was the way I wanted our first album to sound. Evil and dark but very musical in the way it’s not a straightforward album. As a listener, you really need to be open minded and like different kinds of metal. But the darkness is there… And most important. I decided to do all vocals myself instead of bringing a new vocalist to the band.

M.I. - From to Octagram, what changed in the band? What are the differences between the 3 full-lengths? 

The Mefisto album and Octagram are just the way I want us to sound. I love dark music. Not necessary played super fast, it must be heavy. I never played blast beats in the 80`s and I don’t do now. My big inspiration was and is the early years of Celtic, Slayer, among others.

M.I. - The last song of Octagram is Megalomania…It’s the same name as your first demo tape in 1986… What`s the connection? 

It’s a flirt to the demo. And the theme Megalomania is what I define our music. The best of all genres in a mix.

M.I. - Where do you get your ideas and influences for your music? 

I have my favourite bands of course. I don’t listen that much to new music. Guess I am old and boring. When listening to metal it’s still the same as in the 80`s. The NWOBHM or old school death metal such as Celtic Frost, Bathory, Slayer and the German bands. I might get a lot of shit for saying this but am a huge Alice In Chains fan. They really capture the darkness in their music. And I guess you can hear small impacts of their music on our latest album. A lot of tempo shifts and so on…

M.I. - You have a new band brother…Why did you feel the need for a new instrument and what did Chaq Mol bring to your sound? 

Chaq Mol turned up being a big fan of the band and he really liked the Mefisto album. We were somehow connected by our manager Roger. He is the nicest person and we just connected. So he was asked to do some solos on the Octagram album (Armageddon and Roots ov thy soul). Morgan is a great songwriter and with Chaq Mol inspired by old-school Yngwee malmsteen kind of music, it fitted the band like a glove. So, I asked him to join the band and he said yes, it’s an honour. We get along really well. No one in the band, me, Morgan or Chaq Mol has a big ego. And that is super important if you want to be in a band.

M.I. - What are the touring plans for 2020? 

None. We’re not a touring band. We will probably only play live a few, maximum a handful of shows if we get the right offer from a cool underground festival. It’s not about the money. It’s about the passion. There is no money whatsoever involved in our decision.

M.I. - What do you listen to today? Who`s the best right now out there in the extreme metal scene? 

As I said earlier… Unfortunately, I don’t listen that much of the new extreme bands. But I think that Old star by Darkthrone is a good album that came out earlier this year. And I listen to Triptykon. I really like that project. Super heavy and dark.

M.I. - Swedish metal had its big bang in the late 80`s and early 90`s. And for years, it was the metronome for your style of music. When we thought of extreme metal, only Sweden came to mind. Now, the biggest name in Scandinavian metal is Ghost, with the pop catchy chorus and soft vocals (don`t get me wrong! I like Ghost and it`s always on my playlist!). Can bands like Ghost bring new fans to Scandinavian metal or who listen to them and Mefisto, for example, are two different kind of people? Do you listen to Ghost? 

Yes. I love Ghost. They are really good. He (Tobias Forge) knows how to write a good hook. Listen to their chorus… It’s great. It’s like ABBA but heavy and dark. I think the heaviness in music is not about how hard and fast you can play. It’s the structure of the songs. I think Alice in Chains for example are far heavier than most death/black metal bands. And I guess haters gonna hate, you know… So, of course, Ghost is super important and the biggest Swedish band at the moment. Otherwise, I love the early Entombed buzz saw sound.

M.I. - And Portuguese metal bands? Do you know any? 

I listened to Moonspell the other day. I like them. And I love Portugal. I spend a lot of time there. Me and my girlfriend (she’s Portuguese) have an apartment in Costa da Caparica, outside Lisboa. I would love to bring Mefisto to Portugal if we got invited.

M.I. - Thank you so much for your time. Any last words for the Portuguese fans and for the ones who would like to know more about Mefisto? 

If we have fans in Portugal, I would love to meet them. My friend LG Petrov in Entombeb AD, was recently there and they did a small venue. And about Mefisto… We are not an easy band to listen to. We are influenced by so many genres but still want to keep it old-school. I hope that can be heard in our music. Cheers! Eu amo Portugal!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Ivan Santos