Emetropia is a symphonic metal band from Linköping, Sweden, formed in 2017. While many bands in the genre choose to lean towards a gothic, dark theme, Emetropia instead focuses on delivering energetic and dynamic metal driven by big orchestras and choirs. Together with intricate and modern songwriting inspired by many power and progressive metal acts, they are sure to make anyone who loves bands like Epica, Therion, or Amorphis eager for more.
Their debut album Equinox brings the full Equinox Saga, which was teased in their debut EP—Procession of the Kings—with all EP tracks also being “re-imagined” and re-recorded. With years of new experiences and the help of producer Michele Guaitoli, Equinox gives old listener a completely new listening experience of already beloved songs, and introduces new listeners to the future of Swedish symphonic metal.
Do you want to know more about how a highschool metal band developed to a modern symphonic metal act? Or simply enjoy personal anecdotes mixed with behind the scenes footage? Keep on reading down below to read the full Emetropia story.
Chapter 1 – The Band’s Origins
Emetropia was officially formed in 2017 but our origins are a bit more complex. As early as 2011, a 16 year old Olle Renius formed the metal band Grayscale together with his high school friends, but it would not be until a few years later where the story of Emetropia actually begins. In the autumn of 2015, Olle got introduced to the talented drummer Oscar Heikkinen by his childhood friend. Unknowingly to both of them, the newly recruited keeper of time would soon turn out to be an important piece in the forthcoming “Emetropia puzzle”. A few months later, the next piece of the puzzle would reveal itself as we recruited the lifelong songwriter and multi-musician Liam Strand to be our first keyboard player. With the new recruits, we finally managed to write some original music, with the first song being Lord of the Blizzards.
With the arrival of both Oscar and Liam (and to finally have some original songs) we now felt ready to make our first live appearances. We contacted the local music figure Sami Rahim, the former owner of the venue L’Orient, which was known for giving all local bands the opportunity to play live, and soon had managed two gigs ready for the autumn of 2016. The shows themselves were perhaps not the greatest shows on earth, but they were a landmark for the band and led to some great memories.
Things do not always go as you plan. During the autumn of 2016, Liam and Olle had written the music for Lord of the Blizzards, Seasonal Warfare, A Summer Breeze and His Final Endeavour, and it felt like the band was going somewhere. However, we were struck a blow when vocalist and lyricist Elias had to leave the band, and we had to search the Linköping scene for a new vocalist. Luckily for us, the experienced mezzo-soprano and lyricist Lisa Wallenberg reached out and was welcomed with open arms:
“I was already in another band and wasn’t really looking to join an additional one. I was, however, open for shorter collaborations with other musicians. So I would regularly have a look in various Facebook groups for bands and musicians. One day a video of a live performance of Lord of the Blizzards popped up with the message ‘symphonic metal band looking for new vocalist!’ and I thought ‘a symphonic metal band with an open spot AND in my hometown?’. The chance of being in a band, who plays the type of music I had wanted to play since I started singing, was one I simply could not miss! So I wrote a few lines, they sent a song or two, and after a trial rehearsal with the band I was invited to be their new vocalist!”— Lisa
We now had the technical skills, the creativity, and experience, to complete the puzzle. And lo, the first official line-up of Emetropia was ready to present itself to the world!
Chapter 2 – Time to Record Our First EP
In May 2017, we decided to enter the studio for the first time. With Lisa’s arrival, the band finally got the lyrics done for the four songs that had been written during 2016 (Seasonal Warfare, A Summer Breeze, Lord of the Blizzards and His Final Endeavor). However, more new songs were imminent as Liam had also begun to write the music for “The First Leaf Falls” and “Procession of the Kings”, with the latter one making quite the impression on the band:
“I remember when we first began to practice the song in the rehearsal studio, everyone just felt the groove and we knew that we had something special with this song. Lisa wrote the lyrics quite quickly, more precisely two weeks before entering the studio, and I told the band that “we must record this song along with Lord of the Blizzards”. It was a bit rash, but the drums for Procession of the Kings from that first recording session actually made it to the final cut”— Liam
After making some much appreciated live performances during the summer of 2017, and also getting noticed by a Belgian booker (more on that later), we were eager to record and release some music! The May recordings became more like demos for what we wanted to do, so in August we were back in the studio to record our debut EP. We knew that it was eventually going to become a fully fledged concept album, as Lisa had a lot of ideas for lyrics, but at this time, we just did not have enough songs completed. As it was not seen as feasible to have an 11 minutes long behemoth which spoils the end of the saga, the four tracks became Seasonal Warfare, A Summer Breeze, Lord of the Blizzards, and Procession of the Kings.
As a bunch of inexperienced musicians in our early twenties, there was a lot of trial and error. Some guitar solos were re-written on the spot, backing vocals were frivolously recorded and the orchestra was mostly just Liam adding some chords of strings, brass, and woodwind, EVERYWHERE. Perhaps not the most professional production, but it summarizes where we were as musicians at the time. We ultimately put in a lot of long hour shifts in the studio, everyone did their best and when the EP was recorded, we felt proud to finally have recorded something that we would be able to unveil to our local fans, our friends, and our families.
Unfortunately, the mixing process was a long and dragged out process (probably a result of trusting your publicly funded “studieförbund” to do it for free). We decided to re-record the drums for Seasonal Warfare and Lord of the Blizzards. In hindsight not the best decision, as it would be too great of a task to try and replicate old drum recordings, resulting in some inconsistencies over the course of the EP… However, we became one experience richer and would not repeat this happy accident again! After some more vocal revisions, more mixes, and recruiting Jonatan Jakobsson as our new rhythm guitarist, by the late spring of 2018, the album was finally completed. We were now ready for the release of Procession of the Kings.
To be continued…