Arthur W. Andersson: Vocals
Alexander Ellström: Guitar
Andreas Johnsson: Guitar
Andréas Olsson: Bass
Martin Svensson: Drums
Twin guitars, romping rhythms, towering vocals and distinctive melodies - heavy metal is alive and well in the hands of Trial (Swe). Returning five years after 2017's Motherless with new vocalist Arthur W. Andersson on board, the quintet is hungry, and it shows in the tracks that comprise the mighty Feed The Fire, perhaps the most urgent record in their repertoire. "Hearing Arthur's voice made me want to write more up-tempo songs," explains lead guitarist Alexander Ellström. "That desire didn't occur to me prior to him joining. We owe him a lot in shaping the new record after his voice. The result is a fast-paced, ferocious yet melodic album, and is about giving everything for something you hold dear, and letting it ruin you. This is visualised through a canticle of a goddess. For me, the goddess is very specific, I know who the goddess is, and what she means for me. Are you willing to find your equivalent and let it engulf you? I will happily feed the fire knowing what I get in return."
Having started writing prior to Andersson joining the band, once he was a part of Trial (Swe) - the country tag added to their name in 2017 to distinguish them from the many other bands going under the same name - those songs were discarded and they started over. The band knew from the start they needed to approach it differently to the manner in which they realized Motherless, which though rewarding was punishing. "We spent much time crafting each part of Motherless. The effort was immense. Therefore I believe that the result was satisfying, in terms of what our vision was. It's a good record, but it's not something we aim to replicate." Very quickly, new songs started to come together, but they broke up the writing process to drop the Sisters Of The Moon EP in 2021, as a way of introducing Arthur to their fans, comprised of two covers done in the distinctive Trial (Swe) style. Then it was back to work on the full-length, the earliest songs written cast aside in favor of newer, better tracks that they were coming up with, half of the songs that made the record written in the last two months prior to recording, soon having the nine that would comprise Feed The Fire, taking Trial (Swe) to the next level.
Ellström admits that in the early days of the band he did not know how to write lyrics and drew inspiration from the likes of King Diamond, Mercyful Fate and Watain, but over the years he has grown as a writer. Discovering Jim Morrison from The Doors opened up a whole new world for him, "in terms of thinking about things and putting things a certain way", and from there he got more into reading works and poems from the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, which offered stylistic inspiration. "The lyrical themes on the other hand mostly come from more obscure and occult books I own. I use a specific theme and blend it together with my own personal struggles. Therefore my lyrics are mostly very personal but cloaked in a grander theme, for others to relate to." For example, "Sulphery" is "sulphur and mercury merged together. Together they refer to the male and female principle. Active and passive. Two principles that desire to be united. I am the salt - the body, one with the spirit and the soul." Then there is "Quadrivium", which tells the story about the crossroads where Ellström found himself at the time of writing. "It's about previous decisive moments of my life that emptied me spiritually and wholly. It's about the intention to break free from the cross - the crossroads, and embark on a new journey, only to end up at another crossroads further down the road, awaiting me."
Recorded at Welfare Sounds in Gothenburg, with Per Stålberg, Kalle Lilja and Olle Björk as engineers and producers, the band were in the studio every day for almost two weeks, and they approached recording differently than before. "On this album we focused more on playing with feel rather than perfection. In the past, we could spend too much time on parts that ultimately didn't end up better than the first takes we did. This time around we all felt much more relaxed about the situation, knowing what was needed of us to perform." The band also recruited none other than Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg from At The Gates to do some vocals on the song "Snare Of The Fowler", Lindberg a close friend of Stålberg, the two hosting a music quiz at The Abyss in Gothenburg. "We decided to go there and hang out after the studio one day. We spoke with Tompa and invited him to the studio the following week. We had a section that we'd been struggling with, coming up with a good vocal melody. We had the lyrics but just couldn't fit in the melody. Therefore we decided to remove that lyrical passage, until we got the idea that Tompa could do it. He came to the studio and we showed him the lyrics. He listened to the section a couple of times, and then put down the vocals in no time. He nailed it right away!" They also invited Stålberg to play one of the duelling guitars during the second solo. "It was an honor to have these two Swedish legends perform on our record."
With more than ten years having passed since they dropped their debut it is perhaps not a bad time to look back at what the band have achieved, and what lies ahead. "We almost can't believe that we've come this far, now being signed to the famous and mighty Metal Blade. That is something we could only have dreamt about when starting out. It's a great honor for sure," Ellström enthuses. "When Arthur joined, we all developed a friendship that feels very natural. It hasn't changed the energy within the band drastically. If anything, it's been for the better. We look forward to being on this journey together. During all these years, we still feel we've been slightly lurking in the shadows in comparison to other bands within our genre but we hope that Feed The Fire will change that and open up even more possibilities for us to continue doing what we do."