What happens if you start scoring a symphonic piece, resembling a dark and atmospheric movie soundtrack portraying your wildest imaginations, add a ton of industrial metal and put it all together in a typical song box labeled “very personal stuff”?
The musical design of The Grim deviates from the common idea of “symphonic metal” by simply being backwards… With a couple of twists:
“We don’t do traditional metal, inflated with a symphony orchestra – We proceed from the ground up composition of a typical cinematic score and inflate it with metal, while making it sound like a feature song. In The Grim, the metal parts are sliced up and always used as repetitive kickass effects, while the cinematic parts and grimy vocals are the main show.”
The backstory of composer Falkenau (aka Carl Lofvenhamn) covers fairytale music for educational media (Liber, Bonnier), themes for Scandinavian TV shows and commercials (SVT, Viasat, TV4) symphonic intros for Swedish metal bands (Spawn of Possession, Insania et al.) as well as his most recent classical work “Anatema”- a choral war symphony in one movement.
However, the journey with his favorite creation began back in 2000, shortly after graduating from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He simply got tired of “all the pretentious BS associated with classical music” as he puts it himself, and soon the experimenting process started rolling.
As a kid who grew up with bands and artists like Iron Maiden, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nine Inch Nails, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and film composer legend John Williams, Carl´s great interest in making music with synthesizers and samplers took off in his early teens, and gradually began to show signs of industrial metal with a classical touch during his twenties. Though he wanted it to sound more elaborated in contrast to some of the stuff defining the genre at the time.
The following years of close collaboration with various classical musicians and singers when involved in other projects, would ultimately bring Carl closer to his cinematic approach. One of them being the critically acclaimed opera soprano Maria Fontosh (the Royal Opera in Stockholm, Opéra National de Paris, Opera de les Arts in Valencia et al) who eventually would perform a solo vocalise part on the melodramatic track “Autumn Lovers” featured on the debut album “Sanctified”.
By early 2013 the sound and style of The Grim was all set, most of the final arrangements and symphonic orchestrations for Sanctified were finished, but there was still some uncertainty regarding the main vocals, as Carl never intended to do them all by himself. So, as he would like to put it; “like a lightning strike”, he came in contact with Maria Storck who has quite a different background as a singer/songwriter doing mostly rock and blues as well as conducting workshops in the vocal art of growling. Carl had not considered a female vocalist, but when hearing Maria for the first time, he knew she was perfect for his vision of the album.
Consequently, the remaining lead vocals were recorded that very fall and the album was later mixed by Carl and Mats “Limpan” Lindfors, who also did the mastering at Cutting Room Studios in Stockholm during spring the following year.
Sanctified was finally released worldwide on Friday the 13th November 2015, through Dead End Exit Records and Sound Pollution.
So let yourself be immersed and your dark imaginations unfold in your mind.
A new era is here, The Grim will arise.