Exclusive Q and A: Her Bright Skies Talk 'Rivals,' Setbacks, Swedish Rock

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsPrepare yourself, America. Swedish rockers Her Bright Skies are bringing their potent blend of post-hardcore, punk, and modern rock to the rest of the world with their most recent album, Rivals. Inheriting the mantle of fine Swedish rock exports from the past, the band’s songs brim with unstoppable power and energy. We caught up with guitarist Petter Nilsson to chat about Swedish musical history, breaking out stateside, and the message behind the new album.


Artist Feature: The Glass Child

From Sweden to London, England, with nothing but her guitar, a few clothes and a heart of gold, Charlotte Eriksson AKA The Glass Child has poured countless hours of blood, sweat and tears into her craft. Spending sleepless nights on the floors of generous strangers, scraping by for change to make it to the next city, and singing her heart out to audiences every night, Eriksson knows the life of a struggling artist.

With several Top 40 achievements on OurStage and an incredibly strong, captivating voice, The Glass Child is an obvious example of passion, hard work and dedication come to life. Listen to Best Part Of Me below.



Refused Announce End Of Reunion

That’s right folks. It was fun while it lasted, but the gentlemen in Refused have decided to call it quits again. I guess they just wanted one last taste of the punk rock lifestyle before returning to whatever adult life they live now. According to Pitchfork, the band’s final show will be in their homeland of Umeí¥, Sweden on December 15. Part of the announcement on their facebook page:

“And now it is coming to a close. It’s been kind to us. And that old punkrock golem ‘The shape of punk to come’ has done good. The hatchet is buried, 1998 is not such a terrible memory for us anymore. We’re going home. And we’re doing it in style.”

You can read the rest of the message here. Hopefully some of you got to see Refused this year. Looks like this may be the final goodbye… unless perhaps they decide to give it another go in 2025!

If you like Refused, then you might also like OurStage’s own Throw The Goat.

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Metal Monday: Katatonia's Dead End Kings

In Katatonia‘s 21 year career, they’ve managed to avoid putting out a single subpar album; even with a slowly rotating cast of members ” vocalist Jonas Renske and guitarist Anders Nystrí¶m seem to be the only permanent members. On their new Dead End Kings, they’ve even played without Fredrik and Mattias Norrman (yes, they’re brothers) for the first time in about 13 years. It would appear that the supporting cast for Renske and Nystrí¶m isn’t of much consequence, as they haven’t skipped a beat with their followup to 2009’s Night Is The New Day.

On recent albums, Katatonia developed a truly unique sound, a perfect blend of sulking heaviness and shimmering beauty. Combining the thick, heavy riffs and chords of Nystrí¶m with the clear, haunting vocals of Renske, Katatonia create deeply emotional soundscapes on just about every track of Dead End Kings. Frank Default contributes a lot to the atmospheres and textures that coat many sections of the album, adding some sparse percussion, keyboards, and strings. As on Night Is The New Day, producer David Castillo aptly handles the mixing and production of the album, and the overall sound is second to none.

Perhaps the biggest difference for Katatonia on this record is the songwriting. While the album is not at all a sonic departure, many of the songs on Dead End Kings feature elements that Katatonia have shied away from on their last few releases. The most obvious changes, as heard on the lead single “Dead Letters,” are the inclusion of more groovy riffs (likely to the extreme pleasure of Tool fans). But it’s not just heavier, groovier parts they’ve added, either (granted, it doesn’t get much more heavy and groovy than “Forsaker“). Songs such as “The Racing Heart” and “Leech” show us that Katatonia are also quite capable of moody, somber passages.

Ultimately, Katatonia aren’t adding anything particularly new to the mix, but rather are refining and perfecting what they’d already achieved on Night Is The New Day and The Great Cold Distance. In 21 years, they’ve managed to very slowly evolve into something uniquely their own in all the right ways. When you’re so far ahead of the curve, does it really matter if you’re not constantly making massively different music? I’m not so sure it does. I’ll be happy if Katatonia keep making only slight tweaks to their current formula, as they’re already in a league of their own. One listen to Dead End Kings further drives this point home.

Dead End Kings comes out at the end of August worldwide. You can grab your copy from Peaceville Records’ online shop. Get a taste of the new album below with the lead single from the album, “Dead Letters.”

Staffan Johansson on Minimalism

OurStage, Guitar Player magazine, and Ernie Ball are teaming up this summer to offer aspiring guitarists a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize, and there’s only one day left to enter! Enter the Guitar Player “Take The Lead” Competition by August 17 for your shot to win your very own feature in Guitar Player magazine, and a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball! Throughout the competition, we’ll be bringing you exclusive editorial content fresh from guitarplayer.com”enjoy!

It kind of sounds like atmospheric rockabilly, but that doesn’t account for the strains of tango, 1920’s jazz, and Weimar Republic cabaret that Carver Combo bandleader Peter Murphy (not the Bauhaus lead singer) cites as his band’s influences. In any case, the broad musical spectrum of the Stockholm, Sweden group definitely keeps its guitarist Staffan Johansson on his toes. But rather than attack Carver Combo’s stylistic Smí¶rgí¥stí¥rta with multi-textural orchestrations, Johansson embraces savvy dashes of minimalism to punctuate the music’s ebb and flow.

Read more: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/staffan-johansson-on-minimalism/148953


Metal Monday: France, The Metal Up And Comer

Throughout the life of the Metal Monday column, I’ve written posts about what countries produce the best metal. No real surprise that the focus of these posts fell on Norway, Sweden, The UK and the US“after all, they’re the countries with some of the most prominent metal subcultures and scenes. One country that isn’t getting its due diligence, however, is France. Yes, that France. In the last ten years, France has made huge strides in producing powerhouse metal bands on a consistent basis.

Prior to the twenty-first century, France wasn’t exactly known for it’s metal acts, especially on an international level, but the ones they had were pretty fantastic”the monstrous avant-garde black metal band Blut Aus Nord and the consistently great heavy/power metal band Nightmare come to mind. Beyond that? Well, there wasn’t much else. Fortunately for everyone, that’s changing.

Much like Godzilla, Gojira are beasts