Stockholm, Sweden Johan:
Vocals & BassAndy:
Victims formed back in 1997, in their home town of Nyköping, Sweden. The band's aim was simple... to play hardcore punk rock, straight up and right to the point, with particular influences being Swedish Discharge-style and 80's American hardcore.
In the fourteen years that have passed since those early days of rehearsals in “Nypan”, the band have released a catalogue of lp's and 7”s, touring Europe and the US extensively whilst doing so. Along the way they've experienced highs and lows, seen line up changes and personal tragedy, they've been robbed in Italy and hospitalised in the USA. They've also played with a host of great bands and made some life-long friendships.
Today they are one of the most respected bands of the underground punk and hardcore community.
The original line up of the band was Johan on vocals, Andy H on drums, Marcus on guitar and Andy S on bass. This line up recorded a demo set of seven songs which was shortly after released as the first Victims 7”. As well as a split 7” with Acursed, they recorded their first full length album. “Neverendinglasting”, which German label Yellow Dog released. With their first album the band had set out their stall and had started to carve out their own particular sound. For the first time, Victims were starting to garner attention outside of their native Sweden.
Shortly after the release of the album, Marcus left the band. He was quickly replaced by Jon, who had played in Acursed as well as many other bands. He fit the bill perfectly. Within no time, Victims were back in the studio. First came a split lp with legendary crust punk band From Ashes Rise, put out for release through the equally legendary Havoc label. This release would be the start of a long relationship between Victims and Havoc. Shortly after came their second full length album, “...In Blood”.
...In Blood would go on to sell a very respectable amount of records and firmly cement Victims place amongst the leaders of the hardcore scene. The album is eighteen songs of pure hardcore fury, played for the most part at face-ripping speed. The song from the album, This Is The End, would become the band's anthem and is still today, a firm favourite during the live set.
With the In Blood album released, the band embarked on the first of several tours of the US. Only days into the tour though, Jon broke his leg whilst wrestling with a girl in the car park of a venue. The band amazingly only cancelled one show though. Jon played the remainder of the tour in a wheel-chair...
After touring was done for the record and the process of writing a third album had begun, tragedy struck not only Victims, but the underground music community as a whole. Mieszko Talarczyk, long time producer and friend of Victims, lost his life during the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. At the time Jon played in Mieszko's band, Nasum, whilst Johan tour managed them. It was a great loss to everybody who knew him. As Mieszko died, so did his studio, Soundlab. For the first time, Victims would record an album in Stockholm.
The fourth album was given the title, “Divide and Conquer”. The band decided to go for a rougher, trashier sound with this album. Although the band enjoyed hugely successful tours both in the States and particularly in Europe, with Another Breath, the album remains something of an enigma in the Victims back catalogue. It marks the end of an era in a certain sense, and is undoubtedly scarred by the circumstances surrounding it. It would be the last recording that founding member Andy S would feature on.
With Andy's departure, Johan decided to pick up the bass and the band became a three-piece. Johan had played bass in other bands, but this was the first time he would handle both bass and lead vocal duties. The result was beyond anything the band had hoped for. After strenuous rehearsal time, the band delivered a power-trio kick in the gut of an album, “Killer”. The album was back towards direction of In Blood, although both slicker and more mature. The album starts with Johan roaring into the first lines of Victims in Blood Pt. 5 and rarely lets up from there. The album was once again released by Havoc, although this time Combat Rock released the European version. A later cd version was released in the US by Jacob Bannon's Deathwish label.
The band would tour the album extensively on both sides of the Atlantic, sharing bills with Coliseum, Rotten Sound, Trap Them and The Ocean amongst others. Although the guys in the band were fully enjoying their new lease of life as a three-piece, they collectively started to toy with the idea of bringing in a second guitar player, something Victims has never experimented with.
Before touring for the Killer album was completed, a new member was on board. Englishman Gareth Smith, long time acquaintance of Johan, had recently split up his band of ten years, Raging Speedhorn. After two rehearsals together, the guys in the band decided they wanted to go back to being a four piece, although this time with two guitarists. This version of the band was soon back on the road in the US, with Trap Them and Black Breath.
A hugely successful European tour with Municipal Waste followed, along with notable appearances at festivals such as Fluff and Obscene Extreme. As well as that they found time to record a split 7” with old friends Kylesa and a tour 7”, Lies, Lies, Lies, before they began to write their first album for three years.
“A Dissident” was once again recorded in Stockholm, now home to all the members of the band. Nico Elgstrand of Entombed produced the album, and to great effect. The album is by far the most advanced Victims album to date. Darker in it's brooding tone than previous albums, and screaming with politically charged aggression, the songs on this album are for the first time in Victims history, predominantly longer, most of them clocking in at over two minutes.
Photos by Robert Karlsson