Swedish Rockers Graveyard Write What They Know on New Album

Situated 'somewhere between Slayer and Howlin' Wolf'

Anders Bergstedt
November 6, 2012 1:15 PM ET

It's not that Swedish hard rockers Graveyard have a dark worldview, but certain themes tend to recur in their lyrics: war, economic upheaval and betrayal, all set to terse, chugging guitar riffs on their latest, Lights Out.

"We just try to write about what we see going on around us," singer and guitarist Joakim Nilsson says. "I guess it sounds pretty pessimistic if you just write about the things going on around you, but it's hard to have a positive view of how things are."

That said, life is pretty good for the Scandinavian quartet. They have their own brand of beer, for one thing. Though they don't actually brew it themselves, they designed the can and played a role in developing the taste of the lager-style brew. "If you're going to sell something besides records, then beer is good for us," Nilsson says.  

Also, there's the music. Lights Out, the band's third album, follows closely behind Graveyard's buzzed-over 2011 release, Hisingen Blues, and the group has established a growing reputation for tough, melodic songs that evoke the unadorned mustaches-and-denim sound of Seventies hard rock. "We've never said to ourselves that we want to be like a Seventies band, but I think we sound that way because that's the music we listen to the most," Nilsson says. 

Although the guitarist cites early, bluesy Fleetwood Mac as an influence on his own playing, he says that Graveyard had a particular vision when the foursome came together in 2006. "When we started the band, we wanted to be something mixed between Slayer and Howlin' Wolf," Nilsson says. "So I guess that's what we're aiming for." 

They're not afraid to slow things down, either: Lights Out features a pair of brooding ballads that throw off plenty of heat. "We really wanted the album to be as dynamic as possible. We don't want an album that sounds the same from the start to the end – that's why we do slower songs," Nilsson says. "My favorites are always the slower songs. That's what I mostly listen to when I'm at home." 

Graveyard began writing the album last year and recorded it this past May, working as quickly as possible. "I don't think anyone in the band really likes recording. We are more of a live band," Nilsson says. "Not that we don't like what we do – we're really happy with all the records. I think it's more like, you have to produce the best you can every time, every take. You have to do that live, too, but you don't have to hear a live show for forever."  

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »