CRUCIFIED BARBARA - Death And Distortion

March 24, 2009, 8 years ago

By Carl Begai

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The worst thing you can do is approach Crucified Barbara with a “show me your tits” attitude. Not only because it’s disrespectful to the all-female Swedish quartet, but because you’re denying yourself what may well be one of the finest street level no-nonsense metal ass-kickings this side of Motörhead. And while that may be overblown praise in some people’s minds, fact is the band who made some unexpected noise with their 2005 debut In Distortion We Trust have delivered an album loaded to the teeth with hooks, hellyeah melodies, and addictive riffs on new outing ‘Til Death Do Us Party. Sure, the title is straight out of an ‘80s glam rock nightmare, but that’s where any links to the weak-kneed poofed up Vixen-era end. Crucified Barbara is about music rather than nail polish, hitting hard and fast with early day Mötley Crüe-gone-metal abandon that has become their recipe for success. It’s success that’s well earned considering Crucified Barbara have been slugging it out for over a decade.

“The line-up and the music has gone through a bit of a development over the years,” begins bassist Ida Evileye. “We started under the name Crucified Barbara in 1998 and it was me, Klara (Force / guitars), Nicki (Wicked / drums), and the old singer. Me and Klara have been playing together since we were 14 years old, and none of us have ever been in any other bands except for Mia (Coldheart / vocals), who was in a thrash metal band. We were very lucky, and we were very happy and surprised by the success of the album. Sometimes I think it’s unbelievable that we’ve been able to do this and come as far as we have. This really is our dream come true.”
“I think it did really well for being a debut album,” she says of In Distortion We Trust. “We didn’t have any expectations whatsoever. We were just very focused on getting the album together because our old singer quit three months before we went in to record it. Or, better said, we fired her (laughs), so we had to rearrange all the songs to fit Mia’s voice. Mia was just the guitar player at the time so it was a very hectic period. We didn’t really think about what would happen after the record was released. The first year, in 2005, we played a lot just in Sweden, in 2006 we went to Europe, and then in 2007 we went to Russia and Australia as well. It was incredible to be able to do all that.”

Ida credits the band’s internal chemistry and Coldheart’s performance for taking Crucified Barbara to the next level with ‘Til Death Do Us Party.

“We fired our old singer because there was a very bad atmosphere in the band with her around,” she reveals. “We decided we either had to quit or make the change. Mia had always done backing vocals, she’d never played the guitar and sung at the same time before, so it was a learning period for her, rehearsing day and night for three months. If you compare this new album to the last one I think she sounds a lot more confident now. There’s more of a bottom end to her voice this time, she’s much stronger. It was easier for us this time because we could write the songs from scratch, so everything we wrote for this album was written for Mia’s voice. We’ve found our sound on this record.”
“It’s been hard in that it’s our second album, and that’s the album everyone talks about,” Ida adds. “It’s the most important album of your career so you have to do a great job, and we tried not to listen to that when we were working on it. We didn’t want to be dependent or influenced by other people’s opinions. We just did what we felt was the best for us. We wanted to have stronger melodies on this album and harder guitar riffs, get away from the punk rock feeling that some of the songs on In Distortion We Trust had. We wanted to make a more dynamic and heavier album, but at the same time we could have a party song like ‘Sex Action’ on it. Not that any of it was intentional or talked about. I think it’s just natural after all the experiences we’ve had that we wanted to make a harder record. We’re very proud of the album and we feel that we’ve done the absolute best we could.”

As mentioned, the high level of interest generated by In Distortion We Trust resulted in a gruelling yet fulfilling tour junket. And cliché though it may be, the extensive road experience played a part in shaping the songs for the new album.

“We gained a lot of confidence from doing so much touring,” says Ida. “Being able to go on stage supporting Motörhead in front of 4,000 people 23 days in a row definitely builds your confidence up (laughs). In a situation like that you become more certain of yourself and how you want your music to sound.”

Ida’s words echo those of Toronto rocker Danko Jones, who closed out 2008 supporting Motörhead and Saxon in the UK and Europe. Both Ida and Danko will tell you there’s nothing better as a musician than having Motörhead in your corner.

“That was an incredible tour, but I think Lemmy is known for helping out younger bands. Especially all female bands (laughs). I think that’s so cool because he’s one of those people in rock music who has been around for a long time but hasn’t changed. Motörhead still makes great music; they put out albums every second year and they sound great. They’re very cool, down to earth people, but they’ve lived such incredible lives. Maybe Mikkey Dee (drums) is more of the fatherly type, taking care of things, but Lemmy is living the same way he lived 30 years ago. I’ve heard from a lot of other bands that have toured with Motörhead say that they’re one of the best bands to tour with because they’re very friendly. On the first night my amp broke and my spare amp was broken – it was so stupid – and Lemmy came up to me and said I could use his rig. You know, the one that says ‘Murder 1’ on the amp (laughs). In the end I borrowed the amp from the other support band, Clutch, because I was afraid something might happen and I’d break Lemmy’s amp, too (laughs). That was a scary thought.”

It’s fair to say that Sweden has yet another metal export to be proud of, and one that’s able to mix it up with almost any crowd. You have to wonder, though, if Crucified Barbara ever feels the weight of their country’s metal history on their shoulders as the band’s popularity grows.

“I don’t feel that there’s pressure on us because of that,” Ida admits. “Maybe it’s a good thing that Sweden is a respected country for rock and metal, so that when you say you’re from Sweden it’s almost if you’ve gotten past that first elimination round in people’s minds when they buy music. It’s a good thing if you’re from Sweden, I think (laughs). We don’t sound like In Flames, Arch Enemy or Entombed, but we kind of fit with bands CrashDiet who are more sleaze rock, or Babylon Bombs who are more punk rock. I think Crucified Barbara stands out against those bands because we don’t sound like any of them. People have a hard time putting us in a genre so we seem to end up with the sleaze rock bands, but that’s not really us. Okay, the song ‘Jennifer’ is like a sleaze rock ballad, but ‘Killer On His Knees’ and ‘Creatures’ are definitely not sleaze rock. It’s a good situation for us, because people have a much harder time saying ‘Oh, they sound like this or that band’ when they hear our music.”

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