In the deep woods of central Sweden, on the bank of the Dalecarlian river sits a steel mill around which a town is built. The austere town of Borlänge stands somberly, as if buried between the many hills that characterise the landscape. The winters there are harsh, and the summers evanescent. Somewhere beyond those emblematic hills is a hanging cloud of awe and astonishment; an unspoken promise of something that would sate and satisfy the restless minds of the young fated to grow up in this, albeit chimerical, anti-utopia. In a way, music has always served as a medium that bridges the gap between an uneventful small town existence and the lively world beyond. It’s no wonder the region has produced so many successful musical acts over the years. If nothing else, it’s an excellent way to pass the time.
In the heart of the city is a music venue called Cozmoz, and in the catacombs below said venue are a number of rehearsal rooms that bands can rent at affordable prices. Those rooms and the hallways connecting them have over the years, served as something so much more than just a place where brusque teenagers can make noise together; it has been a well-frequented meeting place for like-minded individuals who all share the viewpoint that music is an invisible thread that “ties it all together” and makes sense of a perplexing world. A silver cord, if you will, that ties each individual to a larger, collective soul. It was the hammer and anvil by which many bands where forged; a cauldron always brewing with exciting, new ideas. LETTERS FROM THE COLONY was one of those bands.
LETTERS FROM THE COLONY saw its inception in 2010, when Max Sundqvist (vocals), Sebastian Svalland(guitar), Jonas Sköld (guitar) and Henrik Dahlqvist (drums) embarked on, what would become a staggering journey. Even in its infancy, LETTERS FROM THE COLONY strived to innovate the already saturated metal market; to be just the right amount of progressive to evoke the curiosity of the traditional metal fan, yet distant enough away from the status quo. With the release of their self-titled EP, which was recorded in Sebastian’s tiny one bedroom apartment, they had proven that they could marry various elements of death metal, metalcore and jazz into a complex hybrid and produce something strangely familiar yet truly original. Johan Jönsegård was later recruited as full-time bass player, and the first lineup of LETTERS FROM THE COLONY was complete.
The recipe would prove successful once again as the band moved on to record and release GALAX EP, which saw the light of day in 2014. As with the self-titled EP, the mixing and mastering duties were handled by Alexander Backlund, who was a close friend of the band. With the two releases behind them the band continued to play several shows and festivals both in Sweden and in the neighboring country of Finland. Henrik Dahlqvist eventually decided to go his separate way, and the relay baton was handed over to Hans Karlin, but his stay in the band would be short as Jonas Sköld made the decision to revert back to his main instrument; the drums. Amidst the melee of changes Max Sundqvist was forced to leave the band due to personal reasons.
A permanent guitar player as well as vocalist were now high on the wish list for LETTERS FROM THE COLONY. Their prayers were answered in the form of Johan Murmester and Irish Dave Connaughton respectively. Dave unfortunately had to leave the band on short notice due to family reasons. With two shows in Stockholm on the horizon and no vocalist in sight, the band started calling in favours. Alexander Backlund, already well-acquainted with the band’s material was hired as a stand-in for one of the Stockholm dates. The results exceeded all expectation, especially considering he’d never played or rehearsed with the band prior to that night.
The band quickly made the unanimous decision to recruit Alexander Backlund as a permanent member of LETTERS FROM THE COLONY. With his audio production knowledge now a resource within the band, they immediately began the pre-production of their first full-length album in the autumn of 2015 in the studio that the band had acquired the year before. Another lineup change occurred as Johan Jönsegård decided to move from bass to guitar, which sadly meant Johan Murmester had to leave his post, and local bass player Emil Östberg was drafted and offered a permanent position in the band. The recording process began in January of 2016, and was wrapped up in early April as the final mixes were sent off to Jens Bogren of Fascination Street Studios for mastering. With the album completed, the band went on to look for a record label willing to release it. The experimental nature of the music meant this process would be a long and daunting one, but they ultimately got in touch with German based label Nuclear Blast, who expressed a sincere appreciation for the music and offered to sign the band.
»Vignette« is scheduled for release in early 2018, and is the culmination of the band’s struggles and hardships throughout its 7 year existence. The sky is truly the limit for LETTERS FROM THE COLONY, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent as they prepare for an exciting year both on and off the road. The world beckoning from beyond the hills is one that they will get to witness with their own eyes; a seldom-granted luxury in the deep woods of Dalecarlia.
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
2014 GALAX EP
2011 LFTC EP