We’re still blasting the new WOLF album here at Rock Sins, Shadowland is some proper heavy metal by a proper heavy metal band. We caught up with Niklas Stålvind to see what he thought of the reaction to the album and most importantly, when are they coming to see us in the UK??
Firstly, thanks for talking to Rock Sins and congratulations on the new album. We love Shadowland, are you pleased with the reception?
Nik: Yes! People seem to like it, critics like it and we like it very much ourselves.
Also, the (awesome looking) vinyl arrived on release day! How did you manage that?
Nik: It certainly is! Century Media was smart and booked the vinyl a long time ago and gave us a deadline. Not easy getting vinyl nowadays, I hear.
This is a new line-up for this album. How does the band feel now compared to on the last few albums?
Nik: Very vital and hungry. Speaking for myself, I was very inspired when writing for the album. I could hear the new rhythm section in my head and it ended up sounding even better. All four of us work very well together and we don’t need much input or help from the outside. Simon Johansson, our guitar player, has produced the album in his studio SolnaSound Production and it has worked out great, I think.
Too right! Did the pandemic/lockdowns change the way this album was created or worked on as a band?
Nik: No, not at all, but it made everything much faster. We would have worked on it and recorded it the same way without the pandemic, but the lockdowns and boredom in society made it easier to focus and find time to finish it way faster than we usually do.
The general themes of Shadowland were the insignificance of man over time and general darker sides of humanity. Is it important to have a theme for an album when you start writing a new WOLF record?
Nik: It comes natural for me when making a record. Lyrically it depends on where I am in my life and what I’m going through. Musically, the band is on a constant evolution and when you capture ten songs in a period of time, they usually fit well with each other. The hardest part is not to repeat yourself too much. You want the album to feel solid and hold together, but also be diverse enough musically.
You commented on our album review that the aim of WOLF when you started was to write songs that IRON MAIDEN have long forgotten how to write. Is that still the one of the aims of Wolf? And do you think you have succeeded?
Nik: (laughs) no that’s not a part of our philosophy now, but it was a great way of thinking when we started out. I don’t know if we succeeded or not, but if Steve Harris had a listen to the first WOLF record, I think there would be a big smile on his face. We didn’t try to hide our influences like the smart people do, ha ha.
Do you plan on making a Senuitsu/Book of Souls 2-hour epic record any time soon?
Nik: No, I don’t think so. We have some epic songs, but we have always focused on writing punchy in-your-face metal. But who knows? Maybe in the future we will find ourselves there musically. Besides all the old KING DIAMOND records I have always loved Operation Mindcrime and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. But for me to listen to a two hour record it must be a totally exceptional masterpiece.
As far as we’re concerned you are one our favourite proper heavy metal bands active today. Do you still get labelled as a ‘tribute’ band 25 years into your career?
Nik: I don’t remember getting that label ever actually, but sure there were a lot of IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST references in the first two albums especially. And we didn’t mind. We loved that music and wanted to write music like that. No one did that at the time. Not even PRIEST and MAIDEN.
What are your hopes for the future?
Nik: That the world would get back to normal so we can tour properly again and get to play the new songs in front of a headbanging audience. I have my doubts about the “normal”, but at least I think that there will be live shows for sure.
Will we get to see you in the UK this year?
Nik: Yes! Or… Yes, we’re working on it! We had tours lined up for the new record but it was cancelled some time ago due to the uncertain situation around Covid. But we will tour again and we’ll be back in the UK. It feels like our second home and it is the birth place of the music we play. Metaaaaaal!
Shadowland is available now via Century Media Records.
For more information on WOLF, like their official page on Facebook.