#RobertGranath (#Mefisto) 🇸🇪 #Interview

7 min read

Mefisto is a Swedish dark band that is made of many genres. More raw, infernal and furious at the beginning of their history, and now with an even more grim, dark and ominous sound… just check their music and you’ll understand. Mefisto are about to release their fourth full-length album, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Granath (the only remaining founding member of the band, he was the drummer and now he is in charge of vocals) in order to talk about the new album and some other things related with the band.

Hi Robert, thank you for doing this interview with Blessed Altar Zine. First of all, can you tell our readers who are the members in Mefisto and what’s everyone’s task in it?

Robert: Morgan plays guitar and has been in the band since the reunion in 2015. He is my “brother in arms” and it is he and I that write most of the songs. He is the riffmaster in the band. Chaq Mol from Dark Funeral joined the band when we had almost finished our latest album, “Octagram”. This must be in the end of 2018 but he was able to do some guitar solos on two of the songs on that album. During 2020 both Alex (A. Impaler) from Firespawn and shortly after Chris from Lik joined the band just before we started the recording sessions for the new album. Alex also wrote lyrics to half part of the songs on this album. Last but not least Carl (ex Candlemass, Avatarium) joined the band in the middle of the recording sessions in 2021. This was not planned but he is a friend of Morgan and we first asked him to put some keyboardstuff on one of the songs. But he instead played some theremin and we were blown away. So we wanted that sound on all our songs which made the sound on this album unique and completely different from previous albums.

During this first half of 2022 you have released 3 singles, as advance of your upcoming album. When is it expected to see the light?

Robert: The album will be out on July the 13th.

How would you define your music and/or style?

Robert: It is hard to put a label on Mefisto. Especially the new album“Phosphorus”. It’s Metal influenced by different genres. You can hear some Death, Thrash, Doom, Prog, Black and so on. You can even hear some references to Hardrock from 70’.

Are you guys planning to do some gigs soon?

Robert: We have not planned any gigs. We are definitely not a touring band. Also, some of the members already play in other touring bands. But if there is a good opportunity, and it fits us all, we will definitely do a gig.

Returning to the three new Mefisto songs, we can find some keyboards in your music. What can you tell us about this new addition?

Robert: Carl changed the sound completely with the keyboards and the theremin. I think that the soundscape on this album is fantastic. Very different from other stuff out there. I actually gave all band members free hands to contribute on this album.

Mefisto is a band whose origin dates from the mid 80s. With a raw and obscure sound, mixing Black/Death/Thrash/Speed Metal, you released 2 demos of pure infernal armageddon back in the day. What can you tell us about that time? Which are your memories from that brief initial existence of the band?

Robert: To make a long story short. We were a bit too young and irresponsible. It was really hard back then to get a record deal. Finally we got tired of the scene and wanted to go out and party instead of keeping it on the rehearsal place. Also we had a hard time getting along. Especially me and Omar (guitarist). We ended up fighting all the time.

Were you guys influenced by some other bands when you started playing your own music?

Robert: Ofcourse. When I started Mefisto with Sandro (bass, vocals) it was because of two bands: Bathory and CelticFrost. And when Omar joined the band he brought his influences. Yngwie Malmsteen and other guitar hero stuff. So Mefisto was a mix of extreme bands and commercial Hardrock stuff.

It took almost 30 years after the band split-up to reunite again, and it was 2016 when Mefisto released their first full-length album: “ This Is the End of It All… the Beginning of Everything…”. A very diverse album as for its sound, different styles mixed together, very creative and bold in my opinion… How was it bringing Mefisto to life again?

Robert: It was supposed to be fun. But instead it was painful. Sandro quit before we started to rehearse again. Omar came over from the US. It took almost one day and we started arguing again. It was like traveling back in time. I wanted to stop the process but felt a bit sorry for Omar coming back to Sweden to write and record the album. So on that album I did play drums and wrote some parts/lyrics. But I don’t consider it Mefisto. It should have been named Omar instead. He is a great talent, guitar player and the songs are good and it is also Omar who does the vox. But it is not Mefisto.

Then, in 2017 you released your second full-length album, “Mefisto”, and two years later, in 2019 your third, “Octagram”. More mid-paced tempos, but I think that what you lost in speed and fury, you gained in a still more obscure and menacing sound. How was it that you decided to do vocals yourself?

Robert: I didn’t at that time want to bring in too much new blood in the band. I had a vision of what Mefisto was supposed to be and sound. So I decided to do the vocals myself. On the “Mefisto” album it is only me and Morgan doing everything. No other members.

Were you active in the Metal scene during all those years between the “old” and the “new” Mefisto, Robert? Maybe involved in some other musical projects?

Robert: No. I did not touch drums or anything during those years. Only listening to music.

Talking about the 80s, do you feel nostalgia for those tape trading times?

Robert: Oh yeah. I love the 80s. Everything about it. It was so different.

How do you see the underground Metal scene nowadays? Do you think that the fact that you can find almost all the music on the internet favors the most unknown bands?

Robert: I honestly think it’s bad. The good thing is that anyone can put out their music but it drowns out there. I don’t think new bands get a fair chance because of that. Not saying it was easier in the 80s, but if you made it, you really made it…

Now, just a few more personal questions… Which bands were you listening to as a young metalhead? Are you listening to these nowadays?

Robert: As a young metalhead I started listening to bands like Saxon and Accept. That kind of stuff. This is the early 80s (before that it was Kiss). Then I heard Venom in ‘82 for the first time and that got me into heavier stuff. Then all those cool bands came: Bathory, CelticFrost, Mercyful Fate and so on. I still listen to that today.

Which was the first song or band that got you into Metal?

Robert: I must say the first Maiden, Saxon, Priest albums got me into Metal. But before that I listened to Sabbath and so on. But NWOBHM opened my musical mind. Then of course the first Metallica and Slayer albums blew my mind.

If you could name a band or musician that has got a big impact and/or influence on you, who would you say?

Robert: It depends. I grew up listening to Kiss. As a young teenager when I was getting into heavier stuff I must say Celtic Frost, “Morbid Tales” had a huge impact on me. But there are so many good bands from that era/time. It might sound boring but Metallica’s first 3 albums are in a league of their own…

What does Metal music mean to you in your life?

Robert: Everything. I grew up with it. I always return to it. I listen to the same albums now as I did when I was 15. With that said I also listen to other kinds of music. It depends on the mood.

Many thanks for your time, Robert, wishing the best to you and to Mefisto. Is there anything you want to add?

Robert: Thanks for this interview. I am glad that some people still find us interesting and I am proud of what we have achieved with the new album. I think it’s great that people have a hard time putting a label on our music. They had a hard time doing that already in ‘86. That means we have succeeded.


Interview by Sílvia

Check out one of the new songs by Mefisto below, and keep your ears peeled for July 13th, when the new Mefisto album “Phosphorus” will be released, via GMR Music Group. Feel free to support the band and check the links to their social media. Support the underground.



**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**

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