In our recent review of Snailking's new album Storm, we noted the increasing buzz and profile for doom and sludge, within the metal scene. Within that exciting context, we reckoned that the new album from Sweden's three-piece Snailking, further raised the bar for our expectations of what doom metal and sludge can deliver. The album has continued to garner praise, though the band recently announced the departure of drummer Karl Jonas Wijk.

So we thought it was time to catch up with how things are in the Snailking camp.

R13: Room Thirteen gave your new album Storm it's highest rating, and we were particularly struck by the way you don't stick to any doom metal template, and really experiment with your sound. How would you describe your vision for the bands music?
SK: Hi, thanks for the review, we're glad you like it! Our vision has always been very simple; to make music we like ourselves and to let the writing take all the time it needs. The fact that some songs turn out to be 15 minutes long and doomy is just because that's how we write, it's not intentional. I think we would have a really hard time limiting ourselves to a 3-4 minute song.

R13: Listening to the new album, the songs have a soundscape feel, almost at times orchestral in conception. How did the music evolve and come together for this album? Is there a discernible process at work?
SK: Storm took us a year to write and half a year to record and produce. Our demo Samsara was recorded over just a weekend, so we knew going in on this project that we wanted to spend more time in the studio, since we all feel that we rushed Samsara too much. Because Jonas owns his own studio we had the privilege of spending as much time we wanted there recording the album. And Jonas did all the mixing there as well.

I think what was significantly different this time around is that we knew going in that we would write an album. Our demo was a collection of the songs we had going on then, Storm feels more coherent in my opinion.

Usually our writing process starts with just a riff and then we jam on it and let it grow naturally. The lyrics usually come in later in the writing, when we've been working on the song for a while. The concept of Storm came when we were well in to the production of the album. It was a theme that fit all the songs nicely in my opinion and it leaves room to be interpreted freely.

R13: What musical and cultural influences do you as individual musicians bring, to the collective sound of the band?
SK: We all grew up in the same region of Sweden; Smaland, known for it's dense woods and often referred to as The Bible Belt of Sweden. But musically we're all over the map, we listen to music from all genres I'd say. I listened to a lot of punk and grunge growing up, found death metal in my teens and got turned on to doom when I first heard Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Melvins and Sleep about 10 years ago. Frans and I are childhood friends so I guess we share a lot of musical influences as we've found many bands together growing up. Jonas comes from a punk/death metal/black metal background.

R13: The cover artwork for the new album is incredibly atmospheric, and seems to be really in tune with the music on the album. How did the artwork come about?
SK: The artwork was done by a friend of ours named Johan Leion, he also did the artwork for Samsara and we were really pleased with the work he put in on that. He came to the studio and got to listen to some early mixes of the record for inspiration and we told him about the Storm concept we had going on for the songs. So we really gave him a free hand to do whatever he felt was right. You can check out more of Johan's work at his own site:

R13: You recently revealed the departure of drummer Karl Jonas Wijk. While it seems to have been a mutual decision, what was the initial impact on the band?
SK: It was a mutual decision. Frans and I are both from the same town but Jonas lives 250km away, that's almost a three hour drive. Naturally it gets harder to rehearse as frequently as you usually do with a band. In the end that was what made it impossible. It's hard to book every weekend forever to rehearse, some times you have to take breaks and all of the sudden you haven't met for a couple of weeks. Jonas wanted to rehearse more often and have a band that could meet up and do spontaneous jam sessions easier, and I totally get that. So in the end it put a strain on the band to be apart that much.

It wasn't fun to lose him, he's been a great part of the band and it's much thanks to his production skills that we have gotten the exposure that we have.

Jonas left the band in late June, it wasn't the best timing as Storm was to be released on the 15th September and we already had a show booked with Ocean Chief in our hometown. So we started looking for a replacement right away. I think we got really lucky again because we met Olle Svahn which turned out to be great replacement for Jonas. He came in and nailed two of our songs on the first rehearsal, needless to say it felt right from the start. So now we're training hard to get back in shape so we can go out on a tour to support the new album.

R13: How do you approach playing your songs live?
SK: We're very simple, there's no flashy effects, no backdrops or samples to be heard of at our shows. It's just the three of us playing. Playing live is the thing, that's the pay-off for all the work you put into the music.

R13: What are your plans for touring the album, and will you visit the UK?
SK: We've been set back some because of Jonas departure, we're training hard to get back in form as I said. So ideally I would've hoped to be out on the road about now or in early winter. But we're starting to get gig invites, hopefully a few that I can reveal in a near future. Hopefully we can be out on tour either this winter or early next year. We're going to try to book a longer tour this time around as the two past have been shorter ones and UK is absolutely on our wish list.

R13: At Room Thirteen, we have noticed a real excitement developing around doom metal and sludge this year, with increased press coverage, and landmark releases from Conan and Electric Wizard, and even sold out gigs here in the UK. What's the response to doom and sludge in your native Sweden?
SK: I think it's starting to become more and more popular here as well. There are a couple of great gig places that has popped up in just the last couple of years that book many bands in the genre. And there are a couple of really great bands as well (Kongh, Ocean Chief, Switchblade, Galvano to name a few). But I wouldn't say there's necessarily a great scene surrounding it, if there is I'm not aware of it. We still find it easier to find gigs in other countries than in our own.

R13: ...and we are intrigued. What prompted the naming of the band as Snailking?
SK: When Jonas joined we had two songs written, but we didn't have a name. We had been thinking of naming ourselves Muskox but realized there already were a couple of bands named just that. I'm sorry to say but I'm kind of boring; band names really aren't that important to me. I like catchy names. So one day one of us said "Snailking", after the Ufomammut album, of course which we all love. And we couldn't forget that name, so after a couple of months of thinking of names and just coming up with bad ones we decided just to go with Snailking. When I hear it I imagine some kind of Lovecraft- ancient mythological figure, coming to take back what once was his. But do check out that Ufomammut album it's awesome! We love that band and hope they're not mad of us for taking their awesome album name!

R13: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, we look forward to following the band's next moves.
SK: Thanks man!

So it looks like we can look out for the possibility of Snailking hitting UK shores, which would be amazing. Room Thirteen will of course look to be there, and have our ears bleeding alongside the other metal heads!