Guitarist Patrik Jensen is undoubtedly a Swedish Death Metal veteran, as a founding member of both The Haunted and Witchery. Next week see Jensen’s return to Australian shores in a follow-up to The Haunted’s previous Australian tour alongside Insomnium, and in a first time ever for Witchery. The two bands accompany Death Metal pioneers At the Gates on an Australian east coast tour (including Canberra!) next week.

Both of Jensen’s bands have new material to share with Australian audiences, and Jensen shares how the response has been so far to songs from The Haunted’s latest album, ‘Strength in Numbers,’ live. “This is the second album with Ola , and Adrian back in the band, so I think people have started to realise that this line-up has a lot to offer, and that we still have something to say as a band. I really like the album as well.” With regard to new material, he goes on to reveal, “We’ve started to write the next album, of course, and actually At the Gates go to Tasmania the day after the Melbourne show, and then The Haunted goes with At the Gates to New Zealand, so me, Marco and Ola have a day off in Melbourne which we’re going to be spending writing more material for the new album, so that might be a few cool songs written in that very fine city!”

In terms of what fans might be able to expect from the new songs, Jensen elaborates, “It wouldn’t be The Haunted if we didn’t try a few new things, so we’re always keen on seeing what the band is capable of. As for how the album will be, it’s hard to say because we are three song writers, and say we write six or seven songs each, that’s more than enough to get onto the album. So we won’t really know until we’ve recorded everything, vocals, solos, the full production, before we can determine, ‘Okay, yeah, these songs go well together,’ and so on. Not that the other songs might be bad, but you know, we just try to make the best album that we can. So it’s hard to say how that album will turn out.”

Jensen and Erlandsson have been the best of friends for decades now, and Jensen reflects on what it means for them to tour together. “It’s always going to be good to spend, in some sense, professional time with your best mate, but also being around Adrian, who is the oldest 13-year old you’ll ever meet. He’s just non-stop pranks! Lots of laughs, you know? It’s a lot of fun being on tour with Adrian, so it’ll be great.”

Given that he’s doing double-duty in The Haunted and Witchery over this tour, Jensen offers some insight into what that means for his experience. “Witchery was around before The Haunted, and I’ve been in both bands since the start. I’ve played the songs so many times in both bands, and they are both written with the same kind of passion for music. Both bands’ music is meant to be played with enthusiasm; they’re not be played yawning your way through a set, so you go out to play those sets with the same mindset. I think that’s important in a band, that you never lose that edge. A lot of bands when they get older, they grow complacent, or they just grow old, I don’t know; and it sounds like they just need to turn things down a few BPM, because it’s never been perfect before. But what is perfect?” Jensen queries pointedly. “Perfect for me is when the band is firing on all cylinders. It doesn’t have to be fast. You can see a Candlemass show and you can still feel that these guys are fucking pumped up. So it can be slow music too, you just need to have that passion, and both bands have that passion. You know, I change T-shirt, I change guitar, but that’s about it. It’s the same attitude.”

There is some difference between the two bands, however, in terms of artistic expression. “With Witchery, I would say there’s much more allowed,” he begins, taking the time to think through his words. “But then again, things are not banned in The Haunted, so to say. But with Witchery we can play Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash, or whatever. It’s pretty hard to say what Witchery is if you want to put things in boxes. So a lot more goes with Witchery. The Haunted has a more particular style. Plus, we are three main song writers, so anything I write first needs to get across the two other guys, because they’re prolific writers as well. We have a discussion, and then we end up sort of one third each all the time. With Witchery, I end up writing everything, but everyone in the band has something to say. They just don’t tell me that this riff is bad, or we need to change whatever, or write another song, which is fine. I also need them as feedback. So writing for Witchery is a lot freer. Whenever I write something, I always write it for Witchery. That’s a mental trick for me to avoid writer’s block. If I start writing Heavy Metal, it might turn into something that Witchery could use, and then every third or fourth riff that I come up with might be Haunted sounding, so I get a Haunted riff for free! So there is a difference to how I approach both bands, I guess. I couldn’t really pinpoint it in words, it’s just a feeling I have with what goes in which band, but basically Witchery is my musical playground.”

Audiences can judge for themselves the range of musical approaches between The Haunted and Witchery next week, as they blast their way across the eastern states of Australia with At the Gates!