In 2000 The Storyteller released their self-titled debut album. Now, almost 20 years later the founder, L-G Persson, has put the band on hold as he has created a new environment for his voice. Beyond The Katakomb is the name of that environment, and here is the story.
With Beyond The Katakomb you have gone from classic power metal with folkish elements in The Storyteller, to more progish melodic metal with growls. What’s the story here; why did you want to change your musical expression?
Persson: Well … after working with The Storyteller as my main project for like 20 years I felt I needed to have a new “challenge”. I felt I had more to give and wanted to test myself by diving in to a genre I haven’t really tried out before.
As the theme of Beyond The Katakomb is a bit darker than The Storyteller I just felt like I should involve different kind of vocals therefore using growl at some parts of the album. As far as the growling I do a really sad impression, so I had Henrik Ohlsson who also play drums on the album to help out.
In your bio on Facebook it says that you “envisioned a new environment for your voice”. Can you elaborate around that?
Persson: I wanted to find a new platform – a new foundation that would not remind of The Storyteller and I couldn’t do that alone cause every time I tried writing stuff of my own ….well…it sounded like The Storyteller, hehe!
So, I had to find other musicians to collaborate with that could help me with finding a new sound that still would fit my vocals.
When did the idea behind Beyond The Katakomb first arise; is this something you have been thinking about for a long time?
Persson: I had this vision for a long time, like 5 years, but it just wasn’t the time go ahead with it.
Me and Per Nilsson [Scar Symmetry] had been talking about doing something together for many years but he was busy with his other projects and I was working with The Storyteller, but finally there was a spot when we felt we could go through with it.
When did the band first take form, and can you tell something about how you found each of the members? How was the band founded, in other words?
Persson: The band, or “project”, was created by me. I talked to Per about my idea and he was all in to help out with it as a producer/engineer.
But we needed another act in this that could write awesome music as well as handle the guitar duty. So, Per talked to his longtime friend Daniel Palmqvist [session guitarist and songwriter for projects involving Joe Lynn Turner and Göran Edman among others] who luckily enough wanted to join in.
Not only is he an amazing guitar player, but he writes awesome music as well. So, when he said “I’m in” we knew we had something going.
We also talked to Henrik Ohlsson [Scar Symmetry] to join in as drummer and for writing lyrics. Henrik is a real poet that writes mind-blowing lyrics as well as being a fantastic drummer.
We also got Johan Niemann [Evergrey, Talisman, Tiamat, ex-Therion, Demonoid] to take on the role as bass player and Matt Guillory [James Labrie] well known in the world of progressive metal from his virtuoso performances.
And there it was – Beyond The Katakomb!
Last summer the band released its self-titled debut album. How was the work with that? For how long did you work with it, and who has contributed on the album? It’s not you that has written the lyrics, is it?
Persson: It was quite a long process and took like two years to complete. The main reason was that we worked when we had the time, as some of the members was touring from time to time with other projects, but I didn’t feel it was any rush.
On this album Daniel did the main part of the songwriting with Per contributing with some riffs and ideas. Henrik did all the lyrics except “The Killing” that was written by Daniel.
I contributed on some lyrics on “Pavor Nocturnus”, but Henrik did most of it.
Musically, how would you describe the album? Is it in any ways similarities with that you have done earlier?
Persson: This album was a challenge for me in many ways. It was a lot of harmonies that I’ve never sung before and it was a lot of work doing some parts of it, but I felt I grew with the task during the recording process.
I had to work with another kind of vocals than what I usually done in the past and it was a good experience for me.
You mentioned it earlier, but is Beyond The Katakomb a project, or a band with full-time members?
Persson: Right now, I consider it to be a project but all the guys agreed on if there is an offer regarding tours then we would get together and put on a liveset and move on to the next step.
Are you already looking forward and to the next album?
Persson: At the moment I have other stuff going on but you never know what the future brings. If the album gets good reactions and give a good sale then there is a big chance for a follow up.
Does this mean that The Storyteller is on a hold? What’s the deal here?
Persson: Yeah, I consider The Storyteller being on hold at the moment. I need to take a couple of steps back and give it a big thought were I want to go with The Storyteller in the future.
Who are members in The Storyteller at the moment?
Persson: At the moment it’s just me and the drummer [Martin Hjerpe] who is still permanent members.
Will there be a new The Storyteller album?
Persson: Well…you never know. The Storyteller is my first creation and I am very proud of what we have done….If there is a new album recorded I really can’t say at the moment, but I have no plan to call it quits either.