Published Jun 12, 2015Synder — Swedish for "sins" — isn't just a fear for Christians everywhere, it's also the latest album by Feared, a band who are motivated by what guitarist Ola Englund calls the worst sin in the world.
"Staying true to yourself and being honest is definitely something that people need to do," he tells Exclaim! "I would say that it's a sin not to do it."
Englund and the band he started in 2007 with vocalist Mario Ramos have been doing so for five full-lengths now. "I wanted to make music that I would enjoy listening to myself. For me at least, I'm not striving to reinvent the wheel or something like that, I just want to make music that people can bang their heads to. It's not rocket science, but hopefully we bring some flavour to the table that hasn't been done before."
While the guitarist thinks other bands force genre innovation for the press, Feared stick to their guns (or riffs) despite, as Englund notes, a lot of reviews accusing the band of simply rehashing '90s metal — something that he admits isn't far off.
"I do believe that Feared — even if we're a Swedish metal band — I think we're more influenced by American '90s bands. I think the riff is very important for Feared music."
The inspiration for the riffs comes from bands like Pantera and Machine Head, and the way they're pieced together is another middle finger to an industry so concerned with bombast. In an era of concept albums and grand artistic visions, Englund (who also plays in the Haunted) simply raids his computer.
"It's kind of a non-romantic way of writing music, but I have like a riff library on my computer with all the riffs I've done in the past, so I basically have 500 riffs that are just stacking up in folders on my computer, and I kind of categorize them in different bands. I can definitely feel if a riff is like the Haunted or if a riff is more like Feared."
Similar to the method, the inspiration is equally straight-forward.
"I know it's a lot more interesting when there's a pretentious background behind an album, but for me it's definitely not [the case]. There's some idea behind the music and the lyrics, and I definitely do like having a flow in the album, so there's some kind of idea behind it, but music writing-wise, it's not as romantic as I think people would hope it to be. As long as they like the end result, who cares how it happened?"
Feared care how things happen career-wise. Unsigned by choice, — Englund confirms he's had plenty of record label interest — he takes care of all the duties a label would otherwise be in charge of.
"I'm not really in any hurry or rush to sign anything because at the point we're at right now, I have complete control over everything myself. If I want to do anything with the music — use it for a video game or anything like that — I can just do it right away. My hands are so free with my own music, and I can do a lot of the record label stuff myself."
He admits a label could be useful to help score a support slot for a bigger band, but even that's not necessary — touring doesn't logistically make sense for the band right now. Instead, he plans to continue to build the band and his personal brand through his involvement in Feared, the Haunted, his solo project Solar, and Endvåg, a newer band with drummer Krimh.
If Englund were guilty of any of the deadly sins, it's definitely not sloth.