Metal fans were able to rejoice in 2012 with the announcement that Swedish grind kings Nasum will reform with Keijo Niinimaa, frontman for Rotten Sound, for a series of dates worldwide to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary, as well as to give fans a chance to experience Nasum live with a final send off. Following a hometown show, the band set out to North America for a number of appearances that included Maryland Deathfest as well as Chaos in Tejas in Austin, TX, where ZT was fortunate enough to catch up with founder/drummer Anders Jakobson and bassist Jesper Liverod.
Anyone who’s into extreme underground metal is no doubt familiar with Nasum, the grindcore act out of Orebro, Sweden that met an unexpected and abrupt end in 2005 when vocalist/guitarist Mieszko Talarczyk was confirmed as deceased following the 2004 tsunami. At that time, the band was barely over 10 years old, and had already carved out their massive niche in the metal scene with four full-length albums and numerous splits and 7” singles. Nasum’s untimely end was a shock for metal fans on many levels, and left a huge void as they never had a full-blown tour to reach their worldwide fans, especially in North America. “We did a tour in 1999, 11 dates or something like that, and Milwaukee [Metalfest]” says Jakobson. “Then we came back in 2001 and did Milwaukee only.”
In speaking with both Liverod and Jakobson, ZT gained insight into their reformation process, which was apparently 2 years in the making. “I went up to Stockholm to meet with the other guys and the plan was just to catch up, but I had a secret plan,” says Jakobson, smiling from ear to ear. “The idea was to make one final show, and you [pointing to Liverod] were on board, and the others had to think about it. After a while of talking about it, we decided to do a tour, not just one show. The original idea was to do this last year actually, but we weren’t prepared enough. We needed a little bit more than just one year to rehearse on our own, to make sure we can deliver the songs as good as they should be delivered, to be true to ourselves and to be true to our fans. Also we needed to find a singer. Once we made the decision to have Keijo, we went public and announced our thing and the ball got rolling for sure.”
“It’s definitely something that we were not 100% certain would happen.” Liverod claims. “There were a lot of discussions between us, whether it was right for us or not. There was a lot of scrutiny going on.” But this uncertainty that Liverod is speaking of was long before the band ever went public with this reunion and tour. “One misconception about this whole Nasum thing was that Mieszko was Nasum, but Nasum was a band. When we finally came to terms with that, it felt right, and that this was actually about us and not about him. He left his memory and legacy which is obviously a huge part of Nasum.”
It’s a damn good thing that all of the pieces for Nasum fell into place for this tour, as each show has been phenomenal, packed with fans, and generated a unanimous approval from attendees. “Coming over here has been far beyond my expectations” states Liverod. “It’s been great, the turnouts have been fantastic, and it’s been overwhelming. It’s the best we could have hoped for.” So it goes without saying that the crowd responses that the band has received have given them a hefty shot-in-the-arm to deliver the good each night when they hit the stage. “That means a lot to us, and it’s important to us as individuals, and to put an end to it in a dignified way,” continues Liverod. “It sort of underlines the fact that we want to do this sort of for the fun of it and for how important this band is to us, and for others. It means a lot that people have responded the way they have.”
Still, after a roughly 7 year absence, one has to wonder what it was like for Nasum to get back together and blast out their brand of aural goodness. “For me it’s been fun from the first rehearsal all the way to now, and not strange at all,” says Jakobson. “It’s almost like the band had never ceased to exist, like we just picked up where we left off. It’s been surprisingly easy to play the songs and get back into the whole thing.” But I’m sure the North American leg of the tour has been daunting, with an exhaustive travel schedule that sees the band ending some nights at nearly 2am, then hitting the airport the next morning to fly across the US for another appearance that evening. “Once you get in the zone on stage, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done 16 hours of travelling. You just focus on the show,” Jakobson concludes.
This particular show, on a sweaty early summer night in Austin, TX, has the band playing the annual Chaos in Tejas festival alongside numerous grind and crust bands. This festival always promotes a solid lineup of bands, but it’s pretty evident that most in attendance this specific night are present to witness Nasum’s farewell tour. Coincidentally, this Austin show is the last ever show for the band in North America, period. The crowd is packed up near the stage, and roughly 65% of the audience members are sporting Nasum shirts from their merchandise booth. At nearly 12:45am, the PA starts up with the sounds of an air-raid siren which prompts the crowd to erupt in cheers and applause as Nasum shuffle onto the stage and immediately blast out “Mass Hypnosis” from their “Human 2.0” album. The audience wasted no time in giving credit to the Chaos in Tejas name, as a pit quickly opens up and stage divers leap from the stage, followed by a number of crowd surfers.
The next hour of the night was pretty much a blur, not because I was out of my bodily faculties, but just because it was a total, all out, mob rule set to the live performance of Nasum. The band blasted out a number of their songs which included gems like “Bullshit,” “Wrath,” and “I Hate People.” It was a bittersweet moment, for this writer especially, when the band kicked out their final song of the night, “Inhale/Exhale.” This was the first ever song from the band that I heard back in 1999, and as the band finished up, Keijo Niinimaa exclaimed “That’s it, thanks for coming out, we WON’T see you again!” With those words, Nasum closed the North American chapter of their farewell tour. After such an incredible and fiery performance, it’s certainly a shame to think that we won’t ever get to witness this again. But then again, I recall what bassist Jesper Liverod stated in our discussion earlier in the night, “We don’t want this to be a sad eulogy for something that was very horrible [Mieszko’s passing], this is supposed to be a fun tour.” Judging from the huge smiles on everyone’s face throughout the night, Nasum are no doubt having a blast (pun intended), but fans are as well while they give Nasum one final goodbye.
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