Sweden is a country that has brought us so many great bands the past decades and lately many new releases are from Swedish bands and most of them are very impressive. For example the debut CD of AXENSTAR, a great new melodic power metal band that musically sounds like a mix between HAMMERFALL and STRATOVARIUS. I had an interview with guitarist Thomas Eriksson...

Please introduce us your band, when did you form AXENSTAR and did any of you play in bands before AXENSTAR?

Axenstar was formed back in ¹98 by guitarist Peter Johansson and bass player Magnus Ek under the name Powerage. They had been playing death metal together for a while but wanted now to do something different. A number of different musicians were tried out for the band and finally Pontus (drums) and the two brothers Magnus (vocals, keyboards) and Thomas Eriksson (guitar) became the other members of the band. A demo was recorded called ³The Beginning². The result of it was some record deals but nothing was signed. A while later we changed the name to Axenstar and recorded a second demo called ³Promo 2001². We got the deal with Arise Records just some time later. The rest is history. The band Peter and Magnus Ek played in was called Miscreant and they released one album. Pontus was also a member of that band for a while. Magnus and Thomas played together in a thrash band before joining Axenstar. But nothing was released.

Can you tell us all about your debut CD 'Perpetual twilight'?

It was recorded during about four weeks between February and March 2002. The whole album was recorded at Studio Underground in our hometown of Västerås. It is actually the same studio that we recorded our first demo in. And we all know the producer Pelle Saether so it¹s real easy to work there. After the recording and mixing was complete we sent the CD to Finnvox Studios in Finland to get it mastered. And finally we contacted Travis Smith to do the cover for the album.

Are there any stories behind your songs?

It¹s not a concept album, if that¹s what you¹re asking. But of course, we try to have a meaning with all the lyrics. But it¹s not the usual power metal lyrics. We¹re pretty tired of all the typical fantasy stuff that is so commonly used by many other bands in our genre. Instead we try to write about something that people can relate to. The lyrics deal with almost everything, ranging from relationships to nuclear weapons.

You're playing progressive/power metal with a lot of excellent melodies, who influenced you?

Well, we are influenced by so much. We all have a wide range of music that we listen to, so we get inspiration from all kinds of metal genres and music styles. But if I should name some bands in the power metal genre, I guess I could mention Helloween, Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Freedom Call. But as I said, there are so many more, too many to be mentioned.

There are many bands in Sweden playing your musicstyle, are you popular in your area and do you also feel
there's a lot of competition?

There certainly are! In the last couple of years Sweden has become the home of many new great metal bands. I guess Hammerfall has paved the way for many of them. So I would have to say that there¹s a lot of competition, and you really have to try to make the best music you can so that you just doesn¹t blend in with all the others. But I feel that in our area we are kind of popular, I think more and more people are beginning to notice us now after the release of our album. So that feels very good!

What are the plans for the next coming months?

Right now we¹re working on new material for the next album. We have a couple of songs totally complete and lots more material to work with. And we¹re looking forward to get in the studio and record the second album. As for touring, we actually have nothing planned at the moment. But we haven¹t had so much time to think about it either, cause we¹ve been so busy with everything concerning the release of our album. But hopefully we¹ll get a chance to go on an extensive tour, both in Sweden and Europe.

Finally, do you have anything to add to our readers?

Check out our debut album 'Perpetual Twilight' and visit our website at where you¹ll find the latest news and updates. And while you¹re there, don¹t forget to drop us a line in the guest book. See you on tour!