A symphonic burst of dark metal escapism
These Swedish symphonic metallers want to give you the keys to their asylum.
“WE WANT TO CREATE AN IMMERSIVE WORLD”
Metal is no stranger to grandiose notions and musical extravagance, but few albums in recent years have come close to the intricate horrors of Zornheym’s debut album, Where Hatred Dwells And Darkness Reigns. A disturbing, intricate concept album set in the fictional mental institution of Zornheim, it’s an explosive showcase for the Swedes’ symphonic melo-death attack and a real treat for fans of horror, sci-fi and comics too.
“Each song presents one of the more infamous inmates in the asylum and how they came to be incarcerated,” says lead guitarist Zorn. “The physical album will include a further look at the inmates through their medical records written by the head doctor at the facility, Dr Bettelheim. Each inmate is also brought to life in a graphic novel that we’re making together with the super-talented Finnish artist Anu Bring. So the concept offers a lot of different layers for the listener to discover. This album is an introduction to the asylum, and the next album will let you travel deeper into the chaos…”
Clearly fans of unearthing the devil in the details, Zornheym are the snarling antithesis of many of today’s visually nondescript metal bands. From its stunning artwork to the furious complexity of its concept, Where Hatred Dwells… is a ferociously visual affair and, not entirely surprisingly, indicates that Zorn and his bandmates are nerds extraordinaire. For the guitarist, though, it’s simply a matter of doing things properly.
“Every medium for experiencing the concept is necessary to create an immersive world for the listener to explore with their other senses,” he states. “We’re lucky to know so many creative people that have been eager to help us by lending their skills to bringing the visual side alive. I’m a huge King Diamond fan and it was his albums that got me into the whole concept album idea, but there have been a wide array of influences. For instance, when I wrote the lyrics to the first three songs for the album, I was playing a magnificent atmospheric horror game called The Evil Within, and I remember that its environment really sparked my imagination.”
Recorded at Wing
Studio in Sweden with Sverker Widgren, Where Hatred Dwells… has been in the works for a long time, largely due to the astonishing number of instruments being used on each song. The end result sounds suitably massive, but Zorn admits that his ambitious urges haven’t always been helpful.
“Sverker ended up mixing 300 channels for each song, so as you can imagine the album got delayed several times due to the amount of work!” the guitarist smirks. “He really put the work in throughout and we’re incredibly grateful for the amazing results. It was all a difficult album to create but also an extremely fun album to make.”
Given the intense level of creative overload on display on their debut album, Zornheym are plainly not a band content to limit the potential of any aspect of their art. As Zorn avows, this band are determined to aim high and deliver something truly spectacular, particularly when it comes to live shows and spreading this elaborate madness around the world.
“Eventually we hope to perform all the music entirely live, with no backing tracks and everything performed by a live orchestra and choir,” he says.
“We want to offer people the show that I think our music deserves. Our love for the theatrical element is already obvious in our music video for The Opposed, and we’ve been going overboard with what we’d eventually like to do once we’ve established ourselves. A theatrical element adds so much more to a live experience. We have some plans in action for some really exciting stuff, but you’re not going to find out about that just yet...”
Where hatred Dwells and darkness reigns is out now via non serviam