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A brief follow-up chat to Comrade Aleks' previous interview with Dan Fondelius, this time with bassist Samuel Cornelsen, now that Count Raven's 'The Sixth Storm' has overcome all difficulties to see release.

Interview with Count Raven.
“You know how things happen, and sometimes something doesn’t go according to plan? Count Raven’s ‘The Sixth Storm’ was released on October 29, 2021 and, for me, it was one of the five best Doom Metal albums of the year. If you read this then I bet that you also read our interview with Dan Fondelius a year ago or more, and you’ll know that the band’s way to ‘The Sixth Storm’ wasn’t easy. But this brief interview with Dan’s colleague Samuel Cornelsen will shed more light on this fantastic release.“

Count Raven 2020: Samuel Cornelsen (bass), Dan Fondelius (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Jens Bock (drums).

Hi Samuel! Well, first of all my congratulations! Count Raven’s ’The Sixth Storm’ is finally out and we know it was a hard road for the band. How do you feel now? Is it easier now that the album’s out?

Thank you so much Aleksey! Yeah, it feels a bit empty to be honest! We’ve lived with this beast for almost three years now. But it feels really good to finally get it out. Now we’re all waiting for the vinyl version….it was seriously delayed. Actually, one of the reasons there is a long waiting time for vinyls is that a certain singer beginning with an “A” and ending in “dele” ordered 500.000 vinyls to be manufactured asap. Thanks, pal!

Now that ’The Sixth Storm’ is out, how would you value the amount of work the band did to compose and record it? What was the most challenging thing during that time?

I think it’s an immense work. Most of the songs were written before I joined though; we didn’t really have to work that much on them. It was more a matter of tweaking the arrangements a bit. And Dan decided to add way more guitar solos than I expected, which is a good thing, because he is a brilliant guitarist. We carefully selected the tracks and a lot of time was spent on the running order. I would personally rate the album to be up there with High on Infinity, which is my favourite Count Raven record.

Most challenging was the Covid19 situation. Dan couldn’t go to the studio for vocals and guitar overdubs, so he essentially had to build his own studio in his house. So, we couldn’t see each other much. Dan and Jens are not that big on social media or e-mail, so a lot of the time we had to communicate by phone.

Did Dan or you and Jens ever think to put the recording aside? I remember Dan said that there was a huge problem with recording drums at some point, and other disasters befell one after another.

Yeah, there were lots of problems, but we never considered scrapping it. Sometimes we took a break for a few months from the recordings, like when Dan’s wife was ill, and then died. The mixing took ages also, we always found another, and another, and another thing to change with each new mix that we got. The guy that mixed it, Magnus “Devo” Andersson, has the patience of a saint!

The album is an ideal manifestation of Trad Doom: it has the genre’s main features, but at the same time it sounds vivid and more than true. How natural was this result from your point of view? Did you make a special effort to reach such a result?

There was no conscious effort to sound in a certain way - this is how Count Raven sounds these days. We just recorded the songs that we thought would work the best together as an album. There are plenty more songs written but we’ll save them for next time.

Count Raven - ‘The Sixth Storm’ (Full, 2021):

There’s a good variety of lyrical themes on this album, and though I know that those are Dan’s duty, can you comment on some of them?

“The Curse” deals with social media and the negative effect it can have on people, especially young ones, who are very susceptible to impact from trends and such. “Baltic Storm” is a fictional story about a real event; the sinking of the ‘Estonia’ back in 1994 when 852 people lost their lives. “Blood Pope” deals with religion, hypocrisy and the misuse of power. “Oden” is about Asatro (Northern religion). Some people have suggested that “Oden” is anti- Christianity, but that is not true at all. The song tells a story from an Asatro perspective. We as a band do not take a stand against, or for, any religion. It would be great if everyone can just respect each other and live in peace, don’t you think? All in all, lyrics are there to tell a story, sometimes it’s our opinion, and sometimes not – it’s just a story. We want to evoke thoughts in the listerners’ brains and have them relate to the songs anyway they want to. If we can get one person to think for themselves – mission accomplished.

What kind of requirements for the sound did you have working on this material? What was the necessary set of amps and other equipment for ’The Sixth Storm’?

Oh, we used the amps that were in the studio. I’m sure Dan used an Orange amp for at least one of his guitars. Maybe a Kemper also. A lot of his guitars were recorded at home with a clean sound and then re-amped in the studio. We’re not that picky with amps as everything needs to be re-amped again, and then you have the mixing process with effects and filters and whatnot. You can always tweak the sound to get what you want. Live, though, it’s a different story - then we are quite picky with the amps, mostly Marshall or Peavey 5150 for Dan, and Ampeg for me.

I remember it was hard to expect any new albums when the quarantine started, but now we have so many good doom releases! Abysmal Grief, Apostle of Solitude, Extreme Cold Winter, The Ossuary just to name a few. What are your favorite albums released in 2021?

For me I have to say “Wanton Attack” by Wanton Attack. That’s my absolute favourite of 2021. It’s their first album but it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in 2021. Pure classic metal with hints of…I’m not gonna tell you, you have to listen yourselves! I like it so much I actually bought it on first CD, then vinyl and cassette as well! First band ever where I own all three formats, haha! I also liked the new Iron Maiden album. It’s long, but it’s a real grower. Much better than the last one they did, which I found very boring.

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Interviewed on 2022-02-28 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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