The legend of seminal Swedish grindcore outfit Nasum grew from great tragedy. A band truly ahead of their time, the input this sextet had on the still-developing extreme metal community throughout the '90s is undeniable. Fusing elements of death metal and crust with grind, they set the stage for a wave of bands looking to emulate their sound.
But the meteoric rise of these Orebro-based musicians was not to last. When the Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand claimed the life of vocalist Mieszko Talarczyk in 2004, naturally the remaining members felt it was time to call it quits. But the abrupt end lacked the closure needed to put Nasum to rest, according to bassist Jesper Liveröd.
Now, eight years later, the band feels the time is right to say goodbye to their friend and will be marking the occasion with a string of shows to celebrate. “We are definitely not capitalising on death,” Liveröd says. “It’s quite the opposite actually. The shows are not so much a eulogy for Mieszko, but we just wanted to celebrate his life. I guess the hardest part really was when we started rehearsing two years before the farewell tour. We didn’t feel bad, but it does feel a bit strange without him. I remember sitting down and writing these songs with him. But he is ever present and we still talk about him a lot – about past tours we done and things like that. We are all having a good time hanging out, which is something we haven’t done in a long time. All the shows are passing so quickly, so I’m trying to savour the experience.”
With the tour also marking the band’s 20th anniversary, Keijo Niinimaa (Rotten Sound) has been given the monumental task of filling Talarczyk’s shoes. Although Liveröd notes no man could replace the energy of their late-frontman, Niinimaa was Nasum’s only choice. “We wanted someone who had a connection to the band,” he says. “Rotten Sound had been around the same time as Nasum, we had toured a few times together and Mieszko had recorded a few of their albums. When we were discussing possible singers, we just kept coming back to him. So he was the only one we offered the job to. Thankfully he accepted and now we are playing some of the craziest gigs we’ve ever done. We played Hellfest in France in front of 10,000 people, which was insane. We’ve played festivals before, but never in front of that many. We’ve really put ourselves up for scrutiny and it’s turning out really well.”
Signing off on the final chapter for Nasum has brought with it a sense of satisfaction, with Liveröd the first to say returning to the older material brought deep reflection. But he is happy that Australians will now get to see the band, even if it is only in reformation. “I think finally getting over to you is a dream come true to us and I hope we can live up to your expectations.”
BY JESSICA WILLOUGHBY
NASUM play their 20th anniversary farewell show at The Hi-Fi this Sunday August 19 with special guests Psycroptic in their first Australian shows in 12 months, UK death metal warriors Dyscarnate and Captain Cleanoff. Tickets from Moshtix.