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.”
Popular on Rolling Stone
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.”