Swedish hopefuls Screamer started out in Ljungby, Småland, in early 2009, with Christoffer Svensson (bass/vocals), Martin Hallberg (guitars), Anton Fingal (guitars) and Henrik Petersson (drums). In 2011, they released their debut album »Adrenaline Distractions« for High Roller Records. The record received rave reviews all over the world (especially in Germany's leading metal magazine Rock Hard). After a European tour (“The 'Full Pull Tour”) along with Swedish friends Bullet and 77 from Spain in autumn 2012, Screamer recorded their second album »Phoenix«, which was even better received than the début.
Now, in early 2017, after a few line-up re-shuffles, it’s time for the band’s “difficult third album”. Is all the talk about that “difficult third album” just a cliché or does it still hold true today? After all, how difficult was it for Screamer to write and record »Hell Machine«? “Well, I think a third album can be quite hard to write,” reflects drummer Henrik Petersson. “This time around we had two news guys to break in on how we work and I’d say we’ve progressed a lot on that aspect using file sharing back and forth, re-arranging songs and exchanging ideas that have been recorded at home by some, and tried out in the jam space by others, to eventually come together in the studio. We definitely feel that this is our best and strongest album to date, that is for sure!”
A third album can also decisive in a certain way: Is the band going to branch out in different directions (stylistically) or does it stay true to its roots (without progressing)? What was Screamer’s way of approaching things? “We don’t really think like that,” is Henrik Petersson’s straight answer. “We have »Adrenaline Distractions« (2011) and »Phoenix« (2013) with us, and that is what we sound like. We do believe we have become more melodic heavy rock with this album, but there’s no mistaking that we are an energetic guitar harmony junkies heavy metal band at the same time, as on previous albums.”
As mentioned earlier, »Hell Machine« does show a rather different Screamer, at least regarding the personnel. Henrik Petersson explains: “We found a fantastic new singer in Andreas Wikström, hailing from the far north of Sweden. Umeå to be more precise. But heavy metal as he is, he moved to the south when he joined the band. And on bass we found Fredrik Svensson Carlström, from Falköping. An energetic finger playing bassist that has completed the rhythm section and thoroughly improved it. The recording took place at Shimmer Studios in our hometown Ljungby. We decided to go with the only guy we actually trust completely, Dennis Åhman, to record and produce the album. He’s been our sound engineer from the start, and he knows us better than we know ourselves which helps out a lot in a recording situation.”
For Henrik Petersson there are a few key songs on»Hell Machine«: “We have the song ‘On My Way’, that we did a demo music video of last year, that’s one of the strongest songs we’ve ever made, along with ‘Monte Carlo Nights’, which we’re pretty sure will satisfy every fan of the band out there. But the favourite and most epic piece we’ve ever written must be ‘Lady Of The Night’! ‘Hell Machine’, the title track, is pure heavy metal euphoria as well. I can go on and list every track of the album here, that’s how proud we are of this album!”
To add a bit of light and shade there is one song digressing a bit from the typical Screamer formula: “That would without any doubt be ‘The Punishment’, the song that closes the album. We tried new approaches with this one, not really focusing on the song to sound as if it was a Screamer song. But I guess it did anyway at the end. Anton’s solo on this one is his best to date, I’d say.”
In 2014, Screamer appeared at the prestigious Rock Hard open air festival, where they went down a storm. “Rock Hard Festival was insane!,” confirms Henrik Petersson. “So was the heat there – ha, ha! The summer of 2014 was amazing to us, with Rock Hard Festival, Summerbreeze, Muskelrock, Metal Magic and Metal Frenzy, to name just a few - we can’t wait to get back on the festival stages! Apart from those, we did a few one-off shows, supported Enforcer in Athens, played a small German tour and a weekend in Spain. But no proper touring as such in 2015 and 2016.”
Some people say that the “big wave of Scandinavian Metal bands” is already over. It seems to be the time now that the first bands of this “wave” are already splitting up: In Solitude are no more, Beastmilk, Grave Pleasures, Dr. Living Dead – they all seem to have problems… Why is that? “Last one the list is Steelwing,” adds Henrik Petersson, “which saddens us since we started out at the same time, did shows together before either band had even put out any albums or anything. Something that should always be remembered is that being in a touring band is not the same as meeting up for a jam once a week on a Saturday afternoon with your drinking buddies. Having a functioning normal life with work, relationships and all that takes its toll when you have to put all your spare time into a band.”