Richard Sjunnesson

Official blog of Richard Sjunnesson (The Unguided)

O grave, where is your victory?

Kategori: Allmänt

Almost half a year since last update. Sorry not sorry, BUT here we go again! I’ll do some recap for you. The album “And The Battle Royale” is now out and it’s been quite a successful trip so far.

Check the official music video of “The Heartbleed Bug” by Carl Thorén Productions. It was filmed during a few summer shows we had 2017:

“The Heartbleed Bug”

We had a super fun run with Soilwork last November and this also generated an video, check it out:

The Unguided TV Xmas Special VIII 2017

What’s coming up gig wise for us is some support shows with the almighty Arch Enemy here in Sweden. Ticket information here.

"Arch Enemy - Will To Power European Tour 2018"

02.07.2018 - Club Deströyer, Sundsvall
03.07.2018 - Gasklockorna, Gävle
05.07.2018 - Lokomotivet, Eskilstuna
06.07.2018 - Arbis, Norrköping

If you want a sample on how amazing it can be on our shows you have one here:

“Blodbad (live) from Eon’s End DVD”

We are returning to Finland this summer for the Nummirock Metal Festival! More info here.

Together with Brasstacks Brewing Company we released our first beer “Bottle Royale” it’s a black IPA! Order it from Systembolaget in Sweden or find it on the shelf in Uppsala. 

"Bottle Royale" black IPA

The webshop is restocked and you find this new beauty there among other neat stuff. 

"Dark Metamorphosis T-shirt"

There’s also anther art progression video of Kuang Hong’s creating for “And The Battle Royale”.

Creating the "And The Battle Royale" art


Q&A XXXVII:

Send your questions to: richard@theunguided.com

Q: I wondered why the song 'Daybreaker' feels so 'unpromoted' by the band. If I search for the song on Google/Youtube (with/without VPN) I get one hit from a Spanish fan with spanish lyrics..? I really think it's the most badass song you guys ever made so far!! Easily it’s mine and my girlfriends' top 10 favorite songs. I really do think however that this song deserves waaay more attention from you guys and the rest of the world! I had to tell a mate of mine recently this song existed while he follows the Unguided since it started. Can't wait for the new album, stay awesome!
A:
Hmm I sort of agree. “Daybreaker” came a bit in the shadow of the huge behemoth that was “Nighttaker”, as that was the music video track and also the one song we launched as Jonathan’s first The Unguided tune. Commercially, by our measure, “Nighttaker” was an instant hit and got picked up by some important Spotify playlists and is actually the first song to hit 1 million plays (on Spotify) since “Inception” (2014) and frankly I don’t think we’ve had an equally successful song since “Phoenix Down” (2011). All this kind of undermined the song that was released parallel with it, being; “Daybreaker”. Within the band we still love that song and I know a lot of fans do too. It showed a bit more classic sides of The Unguided on the contrary to “Nighttaker” which had some pretty brave adventures moves baked into it. In the end “Daybreaker” only got 1 quarter of the popularity of its kindred song and I believe we acted on that fact. For the future it might very well show up as a live track however. A good message to all the “Daybreaker” lovers is that you should keep listening and support the tune, if we see a peak in its popularity, we’ll obviously act on that and do something fun with it!


Daybreaker fan

Q: I love your new album. Any chance of an Australian tour? Would it be possible to get an autographed poster and a couple of picks?
A:
Thanks for your support! In the beginning of the band we had no problems to tend to all the inquiries regarding autographs and whatnot, but currently with everyone living all across Sweden and also are extremely busy privately (and the band’s fanbase is constantly growing as well, woohoo) we just can’t keep up with this. My pro tip is to wait for whatever album packages that show up in our official web shop, it’s not rare that we offer signed alternatives and picks. Everyone at our shows obviously get spoiled with this but I understand that will be hard for you coming from Australia. Regarding Australian tour we cannot wait to get there and are eagerly waiting for the right offer.

Q: Hi lord Richard! I hope you are having a wonderful time with the release of the new album, because I surely am! It is packed with a lot of exciting stuff! And after finally having time to read the story and learn the lyrics, I find myself with so many more questions. So find a comfy chair and grab some snacks because this is one is HUGE (that's what she said).
A:
Oh my, here we go…


Hardcore fan

Q: First off I want to thank you and Darren Pearce for taking the time to implement the story in the beginning of the new trilogy, (rather than keeping it for the last CD like before). Having Chapters definitely helps to re-capitulate whenever I have doubts. And the Ending of this "canto" it's such a hook!!! Who will take the throne of Tetragrammaton? What will happen to earth? And is there life on Mars?!
A:
Glad you enjoyed it! NASA have some interesting findings regarding life on Mars! DOOM too.

Q: The next chapter will probably answer most of that, but right now we can talk about what's been revealed: 1. The story is not clear about what happened to "the soul". Sure, the tree of life is dead, and Adam had the power of "the soul" when he was human, but the defector only speculates about this part of the 3 solar symbols being "alive" in mankind. Is this going to be cleared out in the next "canto" or was that speculation the answer all along? Does this means "the heart" could be alive in many people as well? Only if the throne is big enough for everyone I guess hahah.
A: The next chapter will indeed answer most of that since this will be the core question for Canto III. I think the question have been building up neatly throughout both Canto I & II and of course you’ll get the answers eventually.


Eetu Alanen tattoo

Q: 2.- The defector is still king in Zion, when he found out that humans had created an "elixir of life" he kept the worries in his mind, knowing this could alert the heavens and the cycle of souls. Now this might be the way it is for plot purposes, but if not, why didn't the Defector try to stop or warn humanity about their actions? Is he still not allowed to interfere? I mean, if humans are now sharing the world with Fallen Angels, haven’t they thought on learning from them about what the soul and immortality really means before trying to extend their own lives?
A:
The Defector was just king in Zion during the time of the human king’s death and up to the brother’s return from Hell frost so at the time period, of which you are speaking, he’s just the warden of the city in his brother’s absence really. I think it’s fairly well described in Canto II that he’s not too keen on meddling with human businesses as it’s only brought humanity pain and misery in the past (well, staying out of their business this time around brought them pain tenfold I assume). However his own vendetta with Adam and the high heavens it something he easily don’t want to burden the human world with, even if they live in symbiosis. I think the Defector, deep inside, knew whatever it would be this elixir or the next best human invention that would stir the havens, eventually Adam is destined to go on a warpath anyhow and he might reason that now is perhaps better than latter. The battle royale was inevitable it was more a question of when than if. Regarding your last question, you say that as humanity would be willing to learn from their past mistakes? Sorry, not in this alternative world either hehe. Even if they have a lot to learn from the fallen, their greed is stronger than their drive to learn.

Q: 3.- The cycle of souls explains that when a human dies, the soul goes to heaven to fulfill an specific task, and when Angels die, their energy are reborn in a human, filling the soul needed in "the mind and the heart" of said human. Now, this is where I’m confused, if the angels are not immortal, then why did the fallen angels in the last novel required to be "killed" with special guns (Angel cleaver)? Are only those who are part of "The Seven" immortals? When someone is born, does an angel chooses to die by his own will in heaven to keep the cycle running?
A:
I think it’s explained in Canto II that the special weaponry is not to kill, it’s more to incapacitate. Blade of Immortal Death and Angel Cleaver was both to hinder, not to kill. The betrayer for example, after Angel Cleaver made short work of him, his heart and brain was taken inside Judgment and Mercy just because he is immortal. To separate his physical body was the King’s fail-safe method to make sure the betrayer’s immortality does not manifest. Rest assure the betrayer is far from dead and gone, but then again he’s not a very big threat being physically scattered either. Angels are immortal, their energy is sanctioned into humans via the loop, but that energy still belongs to an individual angel. Same thing was with the seven’s earthly forms, when the three forgotten ones found a way to destroy themselves, their energy simply returned to the loop. As the quota was not filled on earth, heaven cast out three additional angels to walk as fallen and yet another one (Eve) when the betrayer was destroyed. Angels don’t choose to die, they choose to allocate their energy to newborn life to enforce the loop by free will. It’s the rule they live by. It’s a bit subjective I know, bear with me hehe.  


The Unguided King tattoo

Q: 4.- At the beginning, the false god "Apophis" gets banished to "a tomb of lava beneath the crust of the planet" Now, I don't know much about religion and stuff,  and my research says that in Egyptian culture, he was the God of chaos/destruction. Given the fact that the story is only "based" on biblical terms like "angels" and "heaven" but doesn't follow stories like how Adam and Eve got kicked from heaven because of the apple, etc. Is it safe to assume that Apophis is "the-unguided-universe" version of "Satan" or whoever rules "hell"? Saying that, does that means that the Egyptian war in the first "canto" (Last trilogy) was between the heavens and Apophis's army? More importantly, does this mean he is dead or simply won’t show up again?
A:
Apophis eats’ Satan to breakfast. But yes, it’s safe to say there’s some equality to Lucifer as they were somewhat subjected to the same treatment being cast out and all. The Egyptian war was between heaven’s army and Apophis demon hordes. If he’ll come back or not, it’s hard to tell with these immortal creatures isn’t it? He’s been licking his wounds in Hell Frost for a long time if so, possibly plotting?

Q: 5.- Like the artwork of "The Heartbleed bug" reveals, the crest in the logo of The Unguided represents "the prince". But why? Is it just supposed to represent how there's always going to be an heir to the throne? A bit weird given the fact that so far the only character we've seen fall in love is the King. And I doubt he had the plan of getting a child with Eve back when they created the symbol hahah.
A:
The symbol was created when the brothers defected from the three forgotten ones. When they were the only ones left they saw a need for a symbolic token for the two to unite under and draw strength from in the hard times they were facing. What better symbol to represent redemption and hope than to cut the shape to have some similarities with the pure innocence of an unborn child? As time passed (and it did in big portions) it became clearer that the inner shape itself represented a more specific offspring namely the love child of Eve and the King. He was indeed predestined for great things. Even if this was not their intention when crafting the symbol they could not deny the significance of said event when it unveiled before them.


Michelle Louisgang tattoo

Q: 6.- I remember you said that the girl from Inception, Unguided Entity, and Phobos grip wasn't going to be in this part of the story (if not, I dreamt about me reading it in your blog then hahah) But I feel that if she was someone with any kind of special power she'd would have been mention somewhere in the story. And unless she's also immortal, I doubt she's still alive by the time of all these events that have happened. So I wonder, was she just a random human being that got experimented on by the Syndissiah to understand humans and their "souls"? Or is she really a big deal? If so, would she have her own book and album then? You know, a story told by her perspective and explaining what she is, what she has lived in our world, etc.
A:
You’ll get your answers in Canto III.

Q: Ok most of the lyrics are very straight forward, and some parts are not. And maybe they don't need to be so specific about the story events, being attached to just one character perspective or anything (since that would probably make them even harder to write). But for the sake of understanding the message behind them, lest analyze a few points that might not be that clear not only to myself but for other DIE-HARD fans. Now, I want to begin with the ones of the brotherhood EP because they're still a bit confusing for me.
A:
Sounds like fun!


Даниил Баклашкин tattoo

Q: 7.- NIGHTTAKER:  Like we had already discussed in the last Q&A, the song is from Daybreaker's (The Unguided King) perspective and not from the Nighttaker. Given by the line "There is no maker, except the nighttaker" and the song Death's Sting saying "I, The maker will descend". My guess is that the "Nighttaker" is Adam. Funny because he is in power of the light of heaven, this probably means he can take the darkness of the "night" away, and bring the light of "day"? This explains why The Unguided King is the Daybreaker since he's the leader of an army that walks beneath the eclipse, bringing the night with him.
A:
Correct. The Nighttaker is Adam. And as you say Adam represent light whilst The King represent darkness. This is further expanded upon in the chorus of “King’s Fall” were their roles kind of gets inverted hence of Adam’s insidious actions. I guess it comes down to the yin-yang concept a bit. There’s always a little drop of light in the darkness and the other way around. Neither of these guys are the truly pure. They are going in and out of both the light and dark with their actions. And being immortal, this is what really makes them a bit human. Is there even an absolute evil, or good? These guys are certainly not.

Q: 9.- DAYBREAKER: Does the line "to the ones infernal you'll never bow" means the dark angels will never bow before Apophis or who are the ones infernal?
A:
Nah, that line more represent the fact that they are immortal and won’t really be mingling with the dead any time soon.


Nicolai Spirres tattoo

Q: 8.- DAYBREAKER:  We know most of the song is from the Daybreaker's perspective except this verse: "Daybreaker, have you reached the deeps of your capacity? ...at the end of the game the king and the pawn always return to the same box" So either this is from Adam's perspective or simply a narration(?). Again, I want to keep an open mind since I know the lyrics don't need to be that specific.
A:
Have I said that it’s from the Daybreaker’s perspective? If so, I don’t remember it. It’s about the Daybreaker, but I more think it’s from the Defector’s perspective and the lines you refer to here is portraying his brother’s weaker sides which he ponder a bit about in Canto II.

Q: 10.- DAYBREAKER: I know you said the chorus is about the battle royale and the story would make it more obvious... Well it didn't hahah, at least not for me. Who needs their souls saved? Humanity? (Especially the ones getting killed by the angels to keep the cycle of souls) or the army of dark angels? Maybe it's about everyone because we need protection against the heavens and now that the king is dead, the dark angels are back to their somnambulist state? Then again, I guess lyrics don't need to be that specific.
A:
I think it’s very specific, “save our souls” means that the Defector want the mortals in the city to keep their souls and not be subjects for the loop prematurely. He’s trying his best to save them after all.


David Palmer photo

Q: 11.- Death's Sting. Just to confirm, this song is from Adam's perspective and the punishment he's about to bring after humans are using the "Elixir of life", right? The line "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is law" is just a biblical reference and has nothing to do with The Unguided Army being away from heaven for so long that they're going to become mortals, and will need some sacrifice to save their souls like Jesus Christ did to pay for our sins, turning dead into an opening to heaven rather than leaving our souls in limbo/purgatory.... Right? (That was my first speculation of the story by reading the song titles long before getting the story in my hands hahah)
A:
It’s from Adam’s perspective and the punishment he’s about the rain down on humanity when they once again have fiddled with the grand plan. “The sting of death…” It’s a biblical reference but also a constant in their plan which are not supposed to be broken. Death and taxes is the only thing certain. But these guys ended up with only taxes. Adam did not approve and launched a full scale measurement to address the problem. Interesting tie in with Jesus, but that was never the point.

Q: 13.- Dark methamorphosis: Is the song from Judgment or the defector's perspective of the Dark angels before finding out they were in a somnambulist state? The line "Whenever I say right I always mean that it should be perfect" gives me the idea that its Judgment talking for some reason, I guess I have a very “strict attitude" idea of him hahah.
A:
It’s from Judgment’s perspective. Nice find!


Raymond Conway sketch

Q: 14.- Dark methamorphosis: The chorus basically says "let’s go for world domination!" when this idea it's not even portrayed in the novel. Is this just a catchy and powerful lyric line to sing whenever you play the song live or does it represents an idea for the future of The Unguided Army? It could also be a small reference to "we rule the night" too I guess hahah.
A:
Judgment’s own agenda does not always align with the view of the Defector which is the actual narrator of the story. This is Judgments song! I’m sure he’d love a bit of world domination. And that that’s also the good thing with Judgment and Mercy. They are two extremes and both are advising the Defector, which makes him balanced and since he call the shots, Judgments reasoning does not have any significant impact to the world.

Q: 15. Anchor Stone (of the World): One of my favorite ones of all the conceptual songs so far, especially because of the lyrics being full narrative of the events. My question is, after the second chorus there's a line that says: "I prayed to them all just to save your soul" Who's praying and what soul needs saving? Was it Adam or the Seraphim’s praying to save the soul of the world? Because whenever they say "the soul of the world is lost" they're referring to the tree of life being dead.
A:
Adam is praying.

Q: 16.- Finally, the order of the songs... it's just a bit random right? Because seems to me the chronological order of them would be:
Anchor Stone
Dark methamorphosis
Death's Sting
Nighttaker/Daybreaker
King’s fall
Legendary (being the anthem of their pain and remembering their battles with the king once he's dead)
I mean, I get that they don't need to be in chronological order, it’s just a reference, since we know all the lyrics in Fragile Immortality and lust and loathing don't necessarily represent one event in the story, they can be a recollection of ideas from one point and another.
A:
It’s not chronological to keep the album dynamic song-wise. Fragile Immortality & Lust and Loathing was a bit more chronological actually but then again the songs fitted that way on those albums.


Raymond Conway sketch

Q: Wow, I think that's all for now, it sounds weird but this album has the sound that I always imagined the unguided would have some day. Even though I know Roland it's not in it, it’s probably just the fact that Jonathan can reach higher notes more easily, I don’t know hahah, but I love it, even a more than LAL, is just as epic as Fragile Immortality. Feels like a nice mix between the very aggressive and forced melodies in FI (which I love) and the writing in the non-conceptual song’s lyrics like LAL.
A:
Glad you enjoyed it! We do too of course. Hope we can top this on the next album, but it certainly will be hard. Whatever happens it was the best initial release we could have with a new member on board.

Q: I've been thinking of doing many things regarding the story, like putting together all the blog's Q&A that I can find related to the concept and doing videos explaining the story for those who may not have time to read it. Or just creating a recompilation of what each character or song is in the story (and if you like it post it on the website?) I don't know, many things I’d like to do but sucks that I don't have the time nor resources. (By having a full time job and studying a master I can barely breathe hahah) All interesting proposals I believe, but I want to know what you think, maybe it can stay the same way it already is. I'd just like to have a document or place where the new fans can go and drown in the story more easily without doing that much research, then again, maybe is just fanaticism and too much to worry about when the real priority is the music. Anyhow, this is a freaking huge email, so at last I’d be very grateful if you can answer it anytime soon, call me selfish but I don't want to wait for another Q&A to know the answers hahah, specially knowing you have very minimum time to even do them. Then once answered you could post these questions in the blog to share the knowledge to everyone too. Thank you for everything Richard. I wish you and the band a fantastic tour and a wonderful week.
A:
There’s a special treat planned for the fans of the story which will be a bit easier to get under the skin than actually reading massive texts. There’s now a story section on the official website which I like to expand on as well. Maybe put some meat and bones on the different characters. But I think your ideas is great and I’d love to see them! Thanks for the kind words.


Research

Q: Hej Richard! First of all, I'm so glad that the new album is a masterpiece and I really enjoyed to see you play with Johnathan in Germany last year. Congrats, keep up the good work man! To my request. Would you bother having a listen to the debut album of my Melodic Death metal band Nepumuc? Don't want to annoy you or anything, I've seen people asking you the same question reading through your blog so I thought it would be okay! ;) (Maybe you know how hard it is for a small band to bring up their music over the internet, it can be frustrating, and hearing some words from a metal musician - good or bad - would be gold!!)
A:
I like the creativity with the concept and all. For some reason it reminded me of and old band called “Lilitu” which made an awesome 2004 release called “The Delores Lesion”. There’s certainly potential here but, once again, I think it’s a bit of production flaws for me to be able to enjoy it fully. I have some recommendations if you are ready to take your next steps productions wise!   

Q: Heeeey Rich, greetings from Brazil. First of all I want to thank you for the incredible sound that you make. I have followed you since the time of SoSy but what are you doing in TU is fucking amazing, you are my favorite band!!! I have Hell Frost and Fragile cds, LL and Battle Royale I'm coming for you! Sorry if my English it's not good. So, my question is, do you think to market "The Book Of The Unguided" with a definite explanation after the second trilogy? It would be amazing if this happened. I'm trying to understand the whole story along with the background of SoSy's times and it's been such an amazing adventure.
A:
Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for your support! Once this new trilogy is done I’d love to make something like that.  


Explanation

Q: Hope you’re fine and started great in 2018. A good friend of mine would be such happy to get a personalized autograph of your band. Is there any possibility to get it till 20th of February? I look forward for your answer.
A:
Sorry for late reply here. I’m addressing this subject a few questions back!

Q: Hey Richard I really hope you read this email I’m a huge fan of yours from Greece and I wonder if you come for a visit on your next tour. Also I loved the new album with Dark Metamorphosis and King's Fall being my favorite. I made a lyric video for Dark Metamorphosis and I’m currently working in a video for King's Fall. It would mean the world to me if you checked out Dark Metamorphosis. Keep up the awesome job you and the rest of the unguided members are doing. Also I’d love to see something like a sequel to the debut album of SoSy Eden Fire. Have you ever thought of that? I admire you as a vocalist but more as a lyricist I know all of your songs by heart and I’d love to see you live. Thanks for your time!!! Unguided we were, Unguided we'll be...
A:
Awesome work with the lyric video! Love to see King’s Fall eventually. I’ve had some plans going in and out for “Eden Fire” as of now The Unguided is too much fun to it really got all my attention. We’ll see what happens! Great that you enjoy my lyrics, thanks man!

 *
Dark Metamorphosis

Q: Heeey, Rich, whats up? I saw on your blog that some characters Of The Unguided's world were inspired in Vicent Valentine from Final Fantasy 7, Raziel from Soul Reaver, so there are any relation between the name of the music with some Games like A Link To The Past (Zelda), Phoenix Down (Final Fantasy), Dark Metamorphosis (Castlevania Symphony of the night). If yes, is there any music with this theme and which? Thanksssss man, come to Brazil, please.
A:
I’ve wanted to do that “A Link to the Past” and “Dark Meta” titles forever but never had a good opportunity to tie them in lyrically. On the latest album I did so I just rolled with it. Save from the titles however the songs have nothing to do with the games unfortunately. And I wouldn’t say there’s much musically that is tied to gaming. I know Roger every now and then gets inspired by retro games in his songwriting, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you here and now if there’s anything in the music lately.

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