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This chat with Carnal Forge's Jari Kuusisto dates back to before the Metal Gods tour launched with much fanfare only to come to a premature end. 'The More You Suffer' has been out for a couple of months now, shows have been played (others haven't) and I still haven't seen a video. Yet all the while Carnal Forge power on, riding the front line of the new thrash metal assault - with the future of the sub-genre as bright as it has been in over a decade. A Swedish resurgence is upon us, and old-school fans of Testament, Exodus and Kreator are discovering the younger generation's versions in Witchery, The Haunted, Corporation 187 and Carnal Forge. The Metal Update talked some thrash with Jari, both classic and current, and got his take on where Carnal Forge stands in relation to this movement, and to the Bay Area brethren of yore.

METAL UPDATE: I sense this whole "new wave of Swedish thrash" scene developing. Do you feel a part of that?

JARI KUUSISTO: Yeah, I think so, because we are one of the first bands here in Sweden that came up with it and we pretty much came up in the same time as The Haunted, so it feels like we were one of the first bands.

MU: What do you think of The Haunted's new record?

JK: I actually like the first one better. The thing that I don't like, with the new album, I would say the sound on it. It's good songs, and everything like that, but I don't like the sound, and I also don't like the songs they have without vocals, the instrumental songs.

MU: What about Corporation 187, have you heard that album?

JK: Yeah, I think it's a really good album, but there's still something missing for them to becoming one of my favorite bands. It's great thrash metal and. . .

Carnal Forge

MU: Do you see those kinds of bands as kind of doing the same thing you guys are, maybe with subtle differences, but in the same kind of genre?

JK: Yeah, it's the same kind of style, and I think it's fun that it becomes more and more bands that play this kind of music. The more bands we have, the more success the music style can have.

MU: How does this style compare with Bay Area Thrash?

JK: Oh, that one's hard. I think that pretty much it's the same Actually, because many of the bands that are playing it, including Carnal Forge, Corporation 187 and The Haunted, have many of these Bay Area bands as an influence. Bands like Slayer, Forbidden and stuff like that, so I think that this has much to do with the sound and with how the bands sounded before. I think the main difference is the production is much better these days and that's why you get people thinking that the new-coming bands, like Carnal Forge, are better than the older bands. I wouldn't go there because the old bands did great stuff and still are doing really great stuff, and when they get the same kind of production on the albums that we can get, it's just awesome.

MU: Which of those old thrash bands do you think are still kicking ass?

JK: Slayer is definitely one of them.

MU: Do you think Slayer has sold out or changed their style?

JK: I have always been a huge fan of Slayer, until the 'Divine Intervention' album. After that, something happened, and then, I cannot really even explain what my feelings were when I heard what they did after that. When they released the 'God Hates Us All' album, I was just like, "yes!" - they found a way back to what they are best at doing and that's how I want Slayer to sound, so. . .

MU: Did you like 'Divine Intervention'?

JK: Yeah, I think it's a really good album. But already there you can hear that something. . . they were planning to do something else.

MU: What other bands from the old days do you think are still kicking ass?

JK: Oh, Testament is an amazing band, I think.

MU: What did you think of 'The Gathering' album?

JK: It's one of the best thrash metal albums I ever owned. I think it's really cool that they still wanted to do this kind of music because they went a little bit softer for a couple of albums and I totally lost interest in them and when they came out with 'The Gathering' album, I was like. . . Everybody that I know has that album and they think it is one of the best metal albums ever.

MU: You're touring with Testament this year in the U.S.

JK: Yes.

MU: Tell me how you feel about that whole Metal Gods thing.

JK: We're totally excited about it because for Carnal Forge. . . You have to realize that Carnal Forge is still a pretty small band. To go out on tour with Rob Halford and Testament is like a dream coming true because when I was real young and listening to these bands, I was feeling, wouldn't it be cool to go on tour with them sometime, and stuff like that. It was just dreaming and now it's happening. So that is really exciting for us.

Carnal Forge - The More You Suffer Cover

MU: Is this your first time in the U.S. or. . . Didn't you play that Metalfest or something?

JK: We didn't play any U.S. shows before. The Metalfest was the first gig that we did in the U.S.

MU: And that was the Jersey one that just happened?

JK: Yes.

MU: Ok. How did that go?

JK: It was totally crazy. We enjoyed it a lot. People were headbanging and doing mosh pits and even fighting in the audience, so that was really crazy. Century Media told us people were talking even the day after that Carnal Forge was one of the best live bands on the bill for that night. The response for Carnal Forge was just great and we were so satisfied with that.

MU: So this will be your first tour of the U.S.

JK: Yeah.

MU: And imagine that, your very first tour and it's with Rob Halford and Testament.

JK: Yeah, it's totally crazy! (laughs)

MU: Any cities you're looking forward to visiting?

JK: I've never been in the U.S. besides New Jersey, and I'm excited to go everywhere. I just want to see everything there.

MU: And what do you think of some of the other bands on the bill like Immortal or Amon Amarth or Primal Fear? Do you like any of those bands?

JK: I that that. . . Primal Fear is not really what I listen to. I think they have done some good songs, but nothing that I would buy a record with.

MU: Do you like Rob Halford's solo material?

JK: Eh, yeah, I think it's really cool, because he's like the God of metal. He doesn't care about anything. He does exactly what he wants do and I think that reflects in his music, so that's really cool.

MU: What about Immortal?

JK: Eh, Immortal. I would say that Immortal is like the European version of Morbid Angel. I really like what they do and I think they have really cool music.

MU: Let's talk about your music for a second, when you write riffs, how important is it that the riffs are technical versus heavy?

JK: That's not important at all. I don't think of riffs like that. I do a riff and then it doesn't matter at all if it's technical or how easy it is. The main important thing for me is if it sounds good.

MU: Do you try to keep it simple or is it just about if the riff sounds good?

JK: I do it so the riffs sounds good, and then if it gets technical, well, ok, then it's technical. Otherwise, if it's easy, I don't really care. The main thing is, does it sound good?

MU: How important are guitar solos to you?

JK: I wouldn't say that they are really important because, from the Carnal Forge point of view, we don't add solos to our songs just to have them there. We add them because we feel that, ok, this song could fit a really good guitar solo because we feel that something is missing from the song.

MU: So you write the song, and then you decide that it could use a little something more, and then you add a solo?

JK: Yeah.

MU: Those old thrash bands always had a guitar solo.

JK: Yeah.

Carnal Forge - Crazy Band Photo

MU: So how come we've moved away from that era to where guitar solos aren't as important?

JK: I don't know why, actually. I think that, from our point of view, the music has been the most important thing from the start, and a solo is something you put there, like a bonus.

MU: So you don't think that guitar solos are an important element in thrash metal?

JK: No, I don't think so. Of course, it's cool if you're a really good guitar player and can play guitar really, really good. To do a solo, you have to be a really good guitar player because if you do it poorly, then nobody wants to listen to it. So if you can't do it, don't do it, and if you can do it, do it if the song needs it.

MU: Right. Now that The Haunted has had some success, and as you said, Century Media thinks you have a shot, how big do you think this style of music can get?

JK: It's hard to say. The interviews and reviews I've read so far have given the impression of the U.S. being a little bit bored of bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park and stuff like that and want something harder. So it's really hard for me, to live so long away from the U.S. to tell what's going to develop.

MU: What do you think of Shadows Fall being on the Ozzfest in the U.S. this year?

JK: I don't know, actually, because I haven't ever heard Shadows Fall. I've never listened to it, so it's hard to say. I know they're doing some clean vocals and much more melodies than we do and stuff like that. I don't know what to think about it.

MU: Well, I mentioned them for two reasons: First, because they also list Testament and some of those bands as influences, and say they are playing a modern version of thrash. Second, it shows your label, Century Media, is able to get bands on a big tour like the Ozzfest.

JK: That was the main reason for us in choosing Century Media. We wanted to have a label that was willing and could afford and do all the things - put us out on tours and stuff like that. Without touring, I don't think a band is going to survive for so long.

MU: What does the name "Carnal Forge" mean? Is it something sexual?

JK: It's really hard to explain, actually. I usually explain it like. . . It's like, a pleasure in flesh. Or, you can also say, that you make something out of human flesh as a blacksmith does from steel.

MU: So it's sex, right? (laughs)

JK: Yeah, you could say so. (laughs) Ok, it's sex! (laughs)

MU:Some of the guys in the band worked in an insane asylum?

JK: Yeah.

MU: Tell us about that. Does that have anything to do with the lyrics?

JK: I wouldn't say that it has so much to do about it because, from how it looks right now, Jonas is writing all the lyrics and he writes lyrics when he feels in a real bad mood - when everything is fucked up in his life, nothing is working, he has no money and stuff. He starts fantasizing what he wants to do to the whole world and the people that he hates and stuff like that. He puts it down and it becomes Carnal Forge lyrics, so. . .

MU: Does one of you work with Alzheimer's patients?

JK: Me and the drummer is doing that right now and the other guitarist, Petri, he is still working at the insane asylum.

MU: Are you doing a video for this record?

JK: I don't know for sure, Century Media has said something about it, but as it looks right now, they wanted us to do it before we leave on the tour and that's not possible. We are already checking into options and with who we could do the video. Hopefully, sometime this summer we're going to do something. I don't know what for yet or stuff like that, but we are definitely looking into doing something.

MU: Do you think you will come back to the U.S. to tour again after you finish this tour with Halford?

JK: I wouldn't believe that we would do something this year as it looks right now. Directly after the Halford tour, we are going to be home for like two months, then we have a full European tour.

MU: Are you doing the European summer festivals?

JK: We are doing a festival called Pressure Fest in Germany and then we have to work. Then we're going to be on a European tour with Exodus and Nuclear Assault. And then, hopefully, we will go to Japan again and do a tour there.

MU: What do you think of those bands being back, Exodus and Nuclear Assault?

JK: I think it's really cool. I really like those bands and I think it's just cool that they still find the impulse to keep on going and still do really good songs. I think it's really cool.

MU: What do you think of Gothenburg bands like In Flames and Soilwork, and stuff like that?

JK: I like the In Flames and I like the Soilwork and some of it, mostly on the older records. Now, I think it's just some kind of pop metal music and it doesn't thrill me at all.

MU: What about the new Dark Tranquillity?

JK: I think Dark Tranquillity has definitely improved, I like the first two albums with Dark Tranquillity. But I wouldn't say that I'm really into Dark Tranquillity's stuff. I think that the new album sounds pretty much the same as the first album.

MU: Is that something bands should try and change or is it cool to keep putting out the same record, like AC/DC or something?

JK: I think you should. . . Carnal Forge is like, we always try to do something different - try to improve our sound, improve our songs. I wouldn't imagine even doing one more 'Firedemon' and calling it something else because it wouldn't make sense. If I'm going to put out a fifth record with Carnal Forge, I want it to sound even better than the first four ones.

MU: Any last words for the Metal Update readers?

JK: Check out the new album, it's a 100% metal album.


review of Carnal Forge 'The More You Suffer'

review of Carnal Forge 'Please. . . Die'

review of Carnal Forge 'Firedemon'





Interview: Eric German [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: Sean Jennings [ ]

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