WITH PANTOKRATOR (NO italian version)
by Leonardo Cammi
A fantastic concept about (entitled ‘Blod’) fall from Heaven and final salvation is out by swedish band Pantokrator, a group of poetic players that demonstrate a good inspiration from holy Bible. The singer Karl is ready to speak about Pantokrator…
In ancient Greek Pantokrator means 'Lord Almighty'. Don't you feel too much "proud" to use a monicker like this? Why did you choose this name?
It could be concidered proud if we (the christians) were not ordered to do and say things in HIS name. If we were not the body of Christ , His very mouth , hands and feet on earth. I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. When he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
We found the name in a tourniquit booklet, we thought it was a good name for a band.
You have 'till now released three demos and one miniCD. Can you resume the history of the band through your releases?
The first demo ‘Ancient Path/Unclean Plants’ 1997 contained 4 tracks and was as far as we know the first Christian deathmetal demo ever released in Sweden. It was a mix of death, doom and thrashmetal, you could hear inspiration from early Paramaecium and Antestor. Shortly after this 3 of 5 members left the band. The remnant found 2 new members and reformed the band. We have had that line-up ever since but now after "Blod" we have been blessed with a second guitarist named Jonathan Ståhl from Sanctifica. We released another demo ‘Even Unto The Ends Of The Earth’ 1998 4 tracks. The sound had changed to raw (not fast) primitive black/death still with a lot of doom, this was the first time we used the violin and sang in swedish. Our guitarist moved 1000 kilomiters from us to study, but we refused to give up the band, so even though we did not play live we wrote and recorded ‘Allhärskare’ 2000, 5 tracks still death metal with a taste of black and doom but with more folk-music elements. This was our first demo on CD and the ‘Allhärskare’ material is the only songs that was never performed live. After this our beloved guitarist moved home again and we wrote the material for ‘Songs Of Solomon’ 2001, 6 tracks, all in one lyrical theme Erotic love. We began to play live gigs again after 2 years, it was wonderful. The music developed a lot from ‘Allhärskare’ to ‘Songs Of Solomon’. Melodic death metal inspired by scandinavian folk-music. Immediatly after ‘Songs Of Solomon’ we started to work with our first full-length album ‘Blod’.
‘Blod’ is a concept album in three parts, if I'm not wrong. I see that probably the first part is about the rebellion to God in Eden, the second is about Cain and Abel and the third about the redemption through Christ sacrifice. Is it right? Can you explain deeply the meaning of your concept and the lyrical background to create your songs?
It is a good way to view it, but we thought of if more like 2 parts. As you can see in the Swedish version, the album contains only 2 lyrics ‘Blod’ and ‘Evighetens Gryning’, ‘Blod’ continues from track 1-9 then comes track 10 ‘Evighetens Gryning’ (Dawn Of Eternity). ‘Blod’ starts in Eden with the fall of mankind, and ends with redemption on the cross of Christ. The theme is the blood of Abel (judgement) vs the blood of Christ (forgivness) "Evighetens Gryning" is about the ressurection of Christ and the new kingdom. We can not explain this better than we do it in the lyrics but its depth goes on forever and ever. The lyrical background is the old testament of the Bible and the Gospels in the new testament, it also has some inspiration from the Epistels.
Why did you choose to write them in your languange and not in english? In the booklet there's a little resume of every lyric, but perhaps it would be better to have the complete lyrics in sweden language and the translation in english. Do you agree?
Because it is our language. You are wrong, it is not a resume, it is the complete lyrics as they where written, first in Swedish then translated into English. The only differents is that I repeat some words and phrases when i sing.
I see in your web site that you are all Tolkien readers. What do you find in that author (so important in metal)? I think that in this author chiristianity message is very strong. Do you agree?
Mostly about the battle between Good and Evil regardless to what religion you confess to, but yes, his own faith might shine through pretty much.
Why in your opinion so much satanic black metal bands use Tolkien books and words (Gorgoroth Burzum, etc.) for their monickers or lyrics knowing that 'The Lord Of The Rings' writer was a catholic?
They might be stupid, or maybe the middle-earth world is to cool to resist even for the worst heritic.
What is the meaning of Moria in the lyrics of 'Moria Kallar'? Is it a song dedicated to Moria written by Tolkien? If is so where is the connection with the rest of the concept?
Moria is also a place in the Bible, the mountain where Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son, and that is what the song is all about.
I see in your web site your vocalist put a good numer of poetry works. Can you tell us something about this passion?
I (Karl) write all our lyrics like poems, if some poem never get to be a song, it is still a poem. ‘Lamentation’ was written before our first demo but was born again as a song on our 3:d demo. This is one of my favourit´s among own poems;
I thank my God for life, for the flame kindled in me.
I thank my Lord for love, I thank my lord for thee.
Thou art mine by vows, mine by golden rings, forever I am yours.
I take delight in thee my undefiled, my dove,
my one and only love.
Let me be the feast upon thy table, let me give myself to thee.
let me be the fire in between, let me be thy one desire, let me fill your
Graceful roe of royal blood, with my sceptre reign, upon the rageing sea, in
the courts of love enthroned upon me.
hold on tight closer to me as I ride the waves with thee, through the night
we fly upon the wings on shadow, fly towards the dawn.
closer to me hold on tight as we catch the morning light stay with me forever.
By Karl W 2001
Describe me Pantokrator in everyday life. Is for you a mission play christian metal?
We are all pretty ladeback guys, three of us are married but fortunately for the girls there are two still single. We just like to hang out together and just talk over some wonderfull coffee, some of us like to go fishing together aswell. We`re all very close just like a family so we love just to be with eachother. It`s definatly a mission but most a blessing. We dont view ourselves like a traditional evangelistic band. In our live-shows we turn more to God than to the audience. We are just doing what we like and hopefully God will be seen through that and effect people.
Did you play many live shows?
There has`nt been so many but hopefully we will have more live-shows in the future. Thanks to "Blod" and of course God we`ve had more live-shows this year than any year in the past.
If you are planning any liveshows in Italy please contact us.
Ok, the interview is finished. Write your best HAIL to ROCK NOT ROLL readers!
Have faith and God bless you all!
From Pantokrator with love.
Karl Walfridsson: vocals;
Mattias Johansson: guitar;
Jonas Wallinder: bass;
Rickard Gustafsson: drums
Ancient Path/Unclean Plants – Demotape, 1997
Even Unto The Ends Of The Earth – Demotape, 1998
Allhärskare – DemoCD, 2000
Songs Of Solomon – MiniCD, 2001
Blod – CD, Rivel, 2003
Reviews (in italian): Blood