WOMBBATH “From Womb to Tomb” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

Wombbath was one of the great “shoulda been” bands of the Swedish death metal explosion of the early 90’s. Their 1993 album “Internal Caustic Torments” stands as a hidden gem of that scene. But these guys were late to the dance and like so many other extreme bands of the early 90’s, the grunge/alt-rock revolution hit them like a ton of bricks. They put out a weird rock-influenced EP rather fittingly called “Lavatory” and immediately called it quits.

In 2014, “the itch” reached Wombbath mastermind Hakan Stuvemark once more and he assembled a new version of the band. A lot of times these reformed bands issue a bland echo of their glory days. Not these guys! Their 2015 “Downfall Rising” is an eye-opening blast of raw yet musical Swedish DM and the best album of its kind this year.

I reached out to Hakan to get the dope on Wombbath both old and new…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hails to you, Hakan! How long have you been plotting the return of Wombbath? Has it been years or did it come from out of nowhere with no warning?

HAKAN STUVEMARK: Wombbath has always been close to me and the first idea,  maybe not to give Wombbath life again but play DM, was 2005 when we had a reunion gig here in Sala but after that not much happened. In 2010 Necroharmonic Records did a reissue of Ithe “Internal Caustic Torments” album and we talked about playing at Rites Of Darkness fest in Texas US.  But some lost interest AND it’s about economy ,too,..very expensive to get there! And in 2013 Pulverized Records did a reissue of the ICT album too..

WC: You are now the last member of the original Wombbath. How did you go about getting the new members and what qualities were you looking for from them?

HS: Basically it was just through friendship and contacts. I knew a lot of their character through that. 

WC: Is there any real difference in sound and approach between Wombbath 1993 and Wombbath 2015? How would you say Wombbath 2015 is better? 

HS:Now it sounds more Swedish, I guess but maybe not all the time. And to me it sounds more darker and brutal but I cannot say if it’s better or the opposite to Wombbath 1993. 

WC: The sound on “Downfall Rising” is amazingly brutal! Was it your intention to surpass the likes of “Internal Caustic Torments” with the new stuff in terms of sheer heaviness?

HS: I just wrote some new material , not much thinking or planning behind it it. But it turned out great! 

WC: The new record is notable because every song has its own sound…everything’s heavy but each tune has its own identity. A lot of modern death metal has kind of forgotten this, would you agree?

HS:A little. Like I just said, not much thinking went into the writing..but personally I do get bored listening to an album with every song sounding pretty much the same. What are they afraid of? I like variety! 

WC: Was there one particular reason why Wombbath didn’t break out of the pack of bands in the early 90’s? Was it due to management, poor label or just the time you were in? 

HS:I’d say one cause was that the ICT album came late in the death metal cycle, in spring of 1993. But we released both our demo and  1st EP in 1992 and that was not very late anyway. 

WC:After the collapse of Wombbath, did you stay active in the metal scene or did you explore other forms of music?

HS: In 1996 I founded In Thy Dreams and that ran till 2000 or so. In 2007 I joined Vicious now called Grand Exit, to play the bass. I left them 2009 and started Skineater

WC: Tell us about the glory days of the Swedish death metal scene. How exciting was it in that time before the Internet? What were some of the bands that influenced you the most to try this kind of music?

HS: We were quite young when we started in fall 1990…14-15 and 16-17 when we did the “Internal Caustic Torments” album. We were located in a small town and did not have much direct contact with the scene. It was cool, though, getting a deal and all that. We did a few shows outside Sala. The bands that influenced us most but not always with their riffs: Suffocation, Dismember, Entombed, Carcass, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Napalm Death,  Kreator, Forbidden etc

WC: Is there any idea of how Wombbath will move forward now? Will you incorporate new sounds into the framework or keep to the style of “Downfall Rising”?

HS: We’ll see. The moment will determine how we write the music but the fans will join us on the rest of this journey! 

WC: Is there a thread running between all the songs on “Downfall Rising”?

HS: No, there isn’t! 

WC: “Abandoned Furthermore” is an interesting track with some experimentation on it. What was the idea behind this song and will there be more like it?

HS: That is a remake of the song “Abandon” you can hear on the ICT album

WC: Has the new Wombbath had a chance to play live yet and what’s the response been?

HS: We will soon begin playing live. It begins in Germany this October at Kassel Mosh Fest. Next year we are going to Maryland Deathfest! Those are the two announced so far! 

WC: What is it about the brutal yet melodic Swedish death metal sound that keeps drawing people back to it? 

HS: It’s the buzzsaw sound,  haha….and I think we have our typical style, easy to get into and very nice! Not all the time but basically always nice! 

WC: If you could have dinner with any 3 people from history, who would they be?

HS: Woof…..good one! I can only pick one at the moment, Ferenc Göndör, who’s more important than any artist or actor. If you readers are curious,  then look him up! 

WC: What was the last CD or release you picked up just because you wanted to listen to it?

HS: Edge Of Sanity –“ Infernal”

WC: What’s the last band you saw live because you wanted to check them out?

HS: Blood Mortized .It was the second time I saw them but I’m friends with Anders so it happens we end up with some beer and barbecue! 

WC: Has Wombbath ever had a Spinal Tap moment where things went wrong that you could share with us?

HS: “LAVATORY”! Do I need to say more?

WC: Any last words for the fans?

HS: Get your copy of our new album “Downfall Rising”, see us at Kassel Mosh Fest, keep your eyes open for maybe some small releases!.