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"We owe nothing to any stereotype.” Swedes Wolverine go forth on latest album

Swedish veterans Wolverine have mutated once again for their fifth album, changing their line-up and their sound to create a real marvel.

They say a week is a long time in politics. In that case, five years is an absolute eternity, even in the slightly less fractious world of progressive rock. In fact, so much has happened during the last five years that even keen observers could be forgiven for thinking that Sweden’s Wolverine had disappeared altogether. But like all the greatest bands in the modern scene, these two-decade veterans have simply been planning their next move, away from the spotlight and firmly entrenched in the familiar minutiae of everyday life. As bassist Thomas Jansson explains, the road to new album Machina Viva has been a long but relatively straightforward one.

“We always go slow anyway, so I guess it’s been business as usual,” he laughs. “I don’t have a sensible answer for what’s happened in the last five years, to be honest. The clichéd answer is that it’s just life that gets in the way, but it’s true. I started teaching one year before our last album [2011’s Communication Lost] was released, and the profession consumed me to some extent.

“Everyone’s been busy with family and everything that comes with that, and now I’m a father too. So Wolverine have been standing still, but we’ve still done gigs every now and then. We’ve been busy. I was on the verge of leaving the band for a while, when I started playing with a doom metal band called Griftegård, but I’m really happy that we are where we are right now.”

As if to prove that all good things come to those who wait, Wolverine’s fifth album once again consolidates this band’s status as one of the most distinctive of the modern age. Resolutely contemporary in its sonic textures, electronic dabblings and overriding sense of 21st-century unease, it seems to represent a subtle expansion of the Swedes’ musical world, as they move ever further away from accepted notions of modern prog metal while subtly redefining their own sound along the way. It is, according to Jansson, a simple matter of progress.

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