We’re kicking off the weekend with a brutal assault of intense progressive metal that fuses low-tuned guitars, funky melodies, Hindu scales, powerful vocals and intriguing lyrics from Sweden’s Limbo.
The Gothenburg quartet formed as a group of high school classmates realised they had a mutual interest in bands like Meshuggah and Periphery. As they explain: “A wave consisting of such music was also kind of sweeping through Sweden back then, and we decided to be a part of it.” It’s proven to be a pretty good decision.
Using those influences as a foundation, the band have honed a sound filled with intricacies and diversity. As vocalist Daniel puts it: “Plenty of low-tuned, odd-tempo grooves, soaring melodies and intricate lyricism, but also an organic and perhaps refreshing sound in contrast to many other bands you would find in the progressive metal, or ‘djent’-genre, if you want to call it that. We would rather have the listener hear all the instrumental details in our songs and induce a sense of ‘realness,’ rather than having a polished and ‘trendy’ sound, which would make us sound like any other band in our genre-spectrum.”
Limbo released latest single A Thousand Windows at the end of October. It opens up with huge crushing guitars and drums, supported by a distant synth sound. Huge vocals jump in with big djenty guitars split up by fun diving guitar sounds, which feed into huge cries of “A thousand windows, A thousand possibilities.” Booming guitars take over then drop into a verse that features intriguing almost whispered vocals.
Winding guitar riffs take over as the unrelenting drums continue, then feed into the wild vocals “Intricate, inherited legacy, Dare to elicit its assets, Within your awareness.” Another blast of heavy guitars comes in, and feeds into an eastern sounding section of guitars under atmospheric cried vocals and guitars. It’s an amazing track that’s really unlike anything we’ve heard in four years of running this site!
On the track, Daniel tells us: “People should be expecting a massive, yet a clear and pronounced sound thanks to the amazing work of Henrik Udd, who did the mix and master for the track. There’s also a great deal of details in there, especially the drums. Adam Janzi, normally the drummer in Danish prog-rock/metal band VOLA, did a fantastic job with the stand-in drumming and managed to put in a great deal of percussion as well, everything from the ordinary rim shots and floor toms to a tambourine, djembe and even a construction ladder.
“When it comes to inspiration, one of our guitarists had the opening riffs for the song laying around for a while and discovered that he had based large parts of the song on a scale called the ‘hindu-scale’ after finishing it, so that became sort of an inspiration when writing it. Other than that, testing new grounds and honing our sound was the main inspiration to write the song.”
Check out this huge track in the lyric video here:
The new single follows on from Limbo’s debut, self-titled album from 2018. One of our favourite tracks from that album is the intriguingly entitled The Inevitable Path to Disintegration, which opens up with a fun high-pitched guitar then crushing guitars support intense vocals. Lighter and, again, eastern-influenced sounding guitars jump in, and continue as the heavy vocals take over.
Big low-tuned guitars jump in and a cool stabbing riff under the huge cry of “All will soon be over, All will soon be gone, As I tread upon the inevitable path to disintegration.” Brutal fast-paced vocals continue, as the track to rises to new crushing levels of intensity, which drops into djenty guitars that flow into stabbing riffs under a huge scream. The drums suddenly drop out, leaving a repeating lick and a building high-pitched synth sound that remains as the track pierces to a close. Check it out below:
The album is packed with intense progressive goodness, such as the powerful Transcendental and Occam’s Razor, and the really cool Amid The Labyrinth, so do yourself a favour and give it a spin. Here’s a guitar playthrough of Occam’s Razor to whet your appetite…
As mentioned, Meshuggah was a major influence on the band, along with several other heavy bands. As Daniel tells us: “Meshuggah and Gojira are two bands that have influenced us a lot, especially Meshuggah with their polyrhythmic frenzy and 8-string guitars, which we also use. Devin Townsend is also a heavy influence, with his musical ingenuities and creativity that coincide well with our mindsets, as well as Mattias IA Eklundh, who is also from our hometown Gothenburg.”
And when it comes to writing music, Daniel explains: “Our lead guitarist Marcus, who writes pretty much all of the instrumentals for Limbo, likes to think of his writing as a journey. He can start with a small snippet or a brief idea, and then embark on a journey extending it to a complete song. When it comes to lyrics, our vocalist Daniel often uses the name ‘Limbo’, with the meaning of “an intermediate place” or “oblivion”, as a starting-points for many lyrical topics that are then formed such that analogies can be drawn to events occurring for the individual, our society, the world or even the universe as a whole.
If you’re new to Scandinavian music then you may not be aware of something we’ve had described to us as ‘The Gothenburg Sound,’ which was borne out of classic Swedish melodic death metal bands. But we’re huge fans of discovering new Swedish bands, so we asked Limbo for their thoughts on the scene in their home nation.
Daniel said: “The current Swedish rock/metal scene is, in our opinion, doing relatively well, considering our small population, and there are a lot of talented bands on the rise at the moment. Sweden’s music export has for a long time been a force to reckon with worldwide, and we think that applies to the Swedish rock/metal scene as well.
“The whole notion of ‘The Gothenburg Sound’ is a great example of that in the metal genre with bands such as In Flames, Dark Tranquility, At The Gates, melodic death metal bands we’d instantly recommend to people that are new to ‘The Gothenburg Sound’. All of the bands mentioned have also recorded albums in Studio Fredman, the same studio where we tracked much of A Thousand Windows, in our hometown Gothenburg.”
Limbo were due to be playing at one of Sweden’s biggest metal festivals, Gefle Metal Festival, alongside some of their heroes like Meshuggah, Amon Amarth & At The Gates, so hopefully they’ll be able in 2021. There’s plenty more coming from the band as they put the finishing touches to their second album, which they hope to be tracking during next year.
And there’s much more to look forward to on top of that, including an awesome guitar playthrough video of A Thousand Windows that was recently released. And as Daniel tells us: “With the release of A Thousand Windows, we will start focusing more on topics surrounding our music as well, such as playthroughs, commentaries, behind the scenes-footage, etc. where we show much of the underlying work we do when creating our music.”