Five Albums That Changed My Life: Anders Nyström of Katatonia and Bloodbath
Katatonia's roots go back to the Scandinavian death metal scene of the late '80s and early '90s, but since forming in 1991, the band's sound has evolved every few years. With the changes, the Swedish act has been met with critical and fan praise, but there has been a fair amount of criticism from their more staunch metalhead contingent. That's never stopped Katatonia from forging their forward-thinking songwriting ahead. The group's melancholic blend of doom, goth-rock and death metal, always excites, leaving you guessing where their next phase will take them. Katatonia guitarist Anders Nyström, who is also a member of the all-star death metal band Bloodbath, took time out of their recent North American tour to be part of Noisecreep's 'Five Albums That Changed My Life' series.
'Elizium,' Fields of the Nephilim (1990)
"I thought their band name was really odd and interesting and I seen images of this band in magazines where they looked like western cowboys gone Mad Max. It really stood out from the rest, even in their own genre! I got into this band through their previous album and never expected them to perfect their sound and craft such a masterpiece with their follow-up. 'Elizium' was far beyond "goth"; it was your mysterious, intriguing and occult alternative! Textured atmospheric rock with lyrics about Sumerian mythology. They are one of my all-time fave bands and will always remain, or should I say 'Forever Remain'."
'Disintegration,' The Cure (1989)
"This the main band that Katatonia drew its influence from outside of metal. I discovered this album in 1991 when I was dating a girl who used to put it on at night and repeat throughout the entire night. I was completely devoured by the lush and epic sound and remember reading the credits saying the album was supposed to be played real loud! I didn't associate The Cure with such dark music, but this was the first time I experienced certain music held the power to pierce your heart. This wasn't just beautiful music; this went on to become important music. I count this album as the most meaningful one in my collection. 'Prayers for Rain' and 'The Same Deep Water As You' are two of the most personally treasured songs I know of. I rarely play it, but I know it's always there for me when I need to. It's more worthy that way."
'Gothic,' Paradise Lost (1991)
"Hands down, this was the metal album that helped formed Katatonia. Jonas Renkse had bought the album the same day it came out and played it for me on vinyl, real loud, all the way through. I can't remember if it happened right then, but the album made me cry (!) and Jonas told me later it happened to him as well. It was the most sorrowful sounding album I'd ever heard and it was still considered death metal. Hell, even the poor production sounds sorrowful! It always gave me a feeling of overloaded electricity churned into an old thick oak that starts to crunch and crackle... or something. The harmony of dissonance courtesy of Gregor Mackintosh became our religion and the weeping guitar melodies were worshipped as goth metal was invented and history was made."
'Hammerheart,' Bathory (1990)
"This is an extremely influential album and next to Paradise Lost, the second metal album directly responsible behind the birth of Katatonia. I dearly love the first six Bathory albums, but each for a different reason and if there ever was an essential viking/heathen spirit captured on an album it's this one. It's savage, glorious and beautiful at the same time. More heavy and pounding than 'Blood Fire Death' and not as polished as 'Twilight of the Gods', this is one of the albums I played the most number of times in my old Walkman. It used to be my fave piece of music to accompany myself while strolling the woods. We also covered 'Home of Once Brave' live in concert once. I think a part of me will always have a proud pounding 'Hammerheart.' R.I.P Quorthon."
'Just for a Day,' Slowdive (1991)
"Here is one from the godfathers of shoegaze. This is the band that got us hooked on using effect pedals and especially delay and reverb added layer after layer. The soft and smooth vocal delivery was also something we adapted for our own vocal style. A lot of post-rock bands own their legacy to this band without even having a clue about it. I think their next album, 'Souvlaki,' is equally as important, but this was the first time I heard them, so the impact was bigger. I heard that Oasis refused to release their own album on the same label unless they kicked Slowdive off. I take that as a huge compliment on behalf of the band!"