by Niklas Göransson

Stefan Sandström is a Swedish veteran musician known for his work in Armagedda, Lönndom, and LIK. After messianic interventions, lengthy incarceration, and fugitive life in the northern wilderness, he returns with his new project, Ehlder.

This article can also be found in Bardo Archivology Vol. 1, a printed anthology with selected features from the online archive. Additional content includes IRKALLIAN ORACLE, AOSOTH, NIFELHEIM, UNPURE, MORBID, ABIGOR, NUMINOUS, CLANDESTINE BLAZE, RIDE FOR REVENGE, AKITSA, MALIGN, NORDVIS, ARMAGEDDA, and DEATHSPELL OMEGA – all presented in ambitious aesthetics with plenty of custom artwork. More information here.

ARMAGEDDA died and LÖNNDOM fell into slumber, yet my desire to create and develop within the musical frameworks I’m familiar with kept increasing. This constant urge to process emotions and ideas through sounds, images, and words has proven an endless source of both sorrow and joy; I prefer keeping the sorrowful aspects to myself but the joyous occasions are those rising out of symbiosis, when a composition ends up the perfect reflection of what lies inside. Once I’ve managed to distance myself from the fact that I’m the one who wrote it, the music can grant me a strong sense of belonging with powers as old as they are profound – a vibrant connection to a soil that speaks back to me.

Stefan’s soul-searching took the form of EHLDER, a new project of his that debuted with “Nordabetraktelse” in October 2019. The album was released by Nordvis, a Swedish label operated by Andreas Pettersson, one of Stefan’s oldest friends as well as the second half of ARMAGEDDA and LÖNNDOM. “Nordabetraktelse” was recorded in the studio facilities recently added to the Nordvis compound, a massive property in the frozen hinterland of the utmost north.

– The drums were recorded over the course of two evenings, courtesy of Villehard. All string-work fell into place pretty fast, but a lot of effort went into the vocals – I re-worked my lyrics a bit during the recording, seeking to better hit the power intonations. I don’t have much experience behind the studio desk and completely lack recording methodology, so most of my time there went into the mixing; but, in large parts thanks to help from Andreas, I ended up with a final mix that sounded so good I didn’t even bother having it mastered. We’re considering trying out a mastered version if the first pressing was to sell out.

Do you consider EHLDER to be black metal?

EHLDER might explore destructive powers in much the same spirit as black metal does, but it also venerates that which builds and strengthens both the lone individual and entire communities. I’ve previously used the term svärtad folkmetal (‘blackened folk metal’, sounds far better in Swedish) for my music. People seem to need a framework they can relate to, so my attempted self-categorising will hopefully appeal to the right kind of listener. But, ultimately, how others label EHLDER is of little practical importance; its purpose is to awaken the ancient spirit and make people question all the falsities they’ve been lulled into. I’m not much of a philanthrope, generally speaking, but seeing them so miserable does affect me. Our society is deeply mired in a flood of fake news, fake people, fake currency, fake food, and fake environments, so it’s infuriating when the poor bastards can’t see it. Along the path to true development in natural surroundings lies intelligence, instinct, and spirituality – all essential for the continued survival of a self-aware and strong individual – as opposed to the subjugated and absurdly over-empathetic mindset we’re being indoctrinated with.

The band’s name is taken from 12th century Swedish vernacular; it’s a term for fire, the natural element Stefan holds closest to his musical heart.

– Wild and tame, entrancing and frightening, life-giving and lethal – fire is both materially and spiritually substantial but, seeing as how you can’t physically grab hold of it, not something humans can either own or ruin. My reconnection to the ancient Swedish comes as a result of not feeling comfortable in the bustle of modern society and the breakneck pace it demands of us; consequently, I strive for a more primitive way of life where one’s greatest priorities have been completely severed from the slavery that is obsessing over digits in a bank statement and more oriented towards whether one has meat on the table or enough dry wood to feed the fire. If I can exchange all these artificial modern problems for whatever challenges arises beyond the confines of society’s protective net, I wield more power over my own life.


I expected to hear plenty of similarities to LÖNNDOM but was pleasantly surprised to also detect echoes of ARMAGEDDA’s “Ond spiritism”. Partly the riffs, vocals, and drum-patterns, I’d say, but even more so in mood and feel.

– I myself have noticed no such likeness; all three bands are richly embedded with different spiritual contexts, none of which can be fully explained to outsiders but are all blatantly obvious to me. I’m aware that many of my riffs tend to fit into more than one of the bands I’ve been involved with, so I understand what you’re getting at but can’t hear it myself. Assuming I’m not writing especially for any one project, where my riffs will end up is entirely decided by whatever performative mode or emotional state I dwell in during the moment of composition. Fingerpicks or strokes, distortion or unplugged, hard or loose picking – all helpful in determining how and where to best implement the material.

“Ond spiritism: Djæfvvlens skalder” was recorded in Necromorbus Studio, October 2003. Besides containing some of the, in my opinion, best Swedish-language black metal lyrics, it also has a very special atmosphere. In the same way “Dark Medieval Times” sounds like pure winter and “Bergtatt” like melancholy woodlands, I’ve always associated this album with the darker aspects of Scandinavian folklore. Vaguely similar to first-era ARCKANUM, but with more Devil than Pan.

– I opened myself to the other side in January 2001, after an unclean spirit had emerged from out of my head and manifested before me and my closest kin. The central theme in the writing for “Ond spiritism” was a perverted and repressive Christianity riddled with superstition, more or less similar to the teachings of the Laestadian branch. Meaning, a faith where prime focus lies on judgement rather than mercy, hell instead of heaven, fears and hardship over love and freedom – a Christendom relying so heavily on the Devil that he comes to life and obstructs God. Not a Christianity I’d ever experienced firsthand, but one I felt both fascinated by and drawn to since I could so strongly relate. But no matter how close I came to the Devil, a connection I always sought to deepen, I was simultaneously gasping for light and joy. At some point after the recording of “Ond spiritism”, I realised that my choices stood between either ending my own life or introducing some kind of balance to it. Thus, in the spring of 2004, we decided to include nature in our mutual creating, and to explore without boundaries everything clandestine and hidden.

Hence why this vision took the name LÖNNDOM, an old Swedish term referring to secrecy. Whilst working on material for their new band, Stefan recorded “Besvärtade strofer” with his solo-project LIK in October 2004 – this time using Gravkammar Studio, a recording setup in the basement of his remote house outside a small village called Burträsk. When the spring of 2005 came around, their studio operation had moved two floors up in the same residence and was now known as Nordvis Ljudstudio. During the creation of LÖNNDOM’s “Hågkomster från nordliga nejder” EP, Stefan was seized by a sudden surge of inspiration and, somewhat spontaneously, recorded the third LIK album, “Lekamen Illusionen Kallet”.

– Gammelkyrkstigen, the old church path, ran along my house and there was plenty of ethereal movement coming from there, so the location itself provided good inspiration. Well, at least some kind of inspiration. When I first moved in, the place gave the distinct impression of having been vacated in great haste by a large family – photos, clothes, porcelain, and furniture were all left behind. At 3:00am my first night there, I saw a dark spectre take form by the front door and walk into the kitchen; it sent me running to my car and taking flight through the raging snowstorm.

Whereas not as blatant as before, “Lekamen Illusionen Kallet” was the last work from the Devil-worshipping days. I’ve understood from Andreas that Stefan embarked on somewhat of a spiritual journey at some point thereafter.

– It was during the spring of 2006 my life turned around completely. At two separate occasions, as I sat on the couch staring into the barrel with my thumb on the trigger, I heard voices in my chest whispering of the fate that awaited me, should I pull the trigger. The second time, I actually blacked out and fainted. When opening my eyes again, I beheld an entity with burning eyes – enshrouded in a white sheen, tall enough to reach the kitchen ceiling – and it allowed me to see all the misery I’d hitherto caused both myself and others. Suddenly, I could sense a Creator behind all this stunning nature I’d always been surrounded by but never understood the deeper bond to. I felt my spine straightening, literally. I gathered all my belongings connected to the darkness I’d wallowed in for so many years and then burned the lot of it. From that moment on, I began seeking the light in life as well as whatever comes after.

Awestruck and reverent, Stefan interpreted the humongous apparition as the risen Son of God and so welcomed Jesus Christ into his heart. As could be expected, Andreas was not terribly impressed.

– I died in his eyes when I announced my revelation. Of course, I already knew well in advance what would happen, but I was on a new course which appealed to me to the extent where I wasn’t going to let anything – or anyone – stop me. This was my calling and my truth; I’ve always been that way, walking whatever path I’ve felt drawn to with very little heed paid to what anyone else has to say about it. Still to this day, I’m guided by my spiritual convictions and have learned how to deal with break-ups from close relations who can’t accept my explorations. People tend to play to one’s considerations, and he who starts compromising with his self will soon find himself lost.


A few months later, both Andreas and Stefan realised they still shared strong common ground in LÖNNDOM. Black metal was no longer the be-all and end-all for Andreas; over time, he’d started exploring other musical genres. The two re-connected, resumed their friendship, and finished the material for LÖNNDOM’s debut album, “Fälen från norr”, which they recorded towards the end of 2006 in what was now known as Nordvis Soundstudio – the basement of Stefan’s new house in Risliden. Despite a spiritual essence far removed from LIK and ARMAGEDDA, there’s definitely plenty of darkness left in there.

– I still have inner conflicts after unleashing the dark within me back in the early days – these are strong energies, not to be trifled with. I denied all of my self during my many years as a Christian and saw the darkness within me as a healthy strife to maintain. I had little choice, really, since it was always there; physically palpable to the extent where the bed shook at night as my ex-wife and I were trying to sleep. But when I, during my studies at the Johannelund Theological Seminary in Uppsala, realised how thoroughly imbued with various political power-struggles the scriptures are, I abandoned Christianity.

How long were you in Uppsala?

– About a year. My wife and I moved there in August 2009; she’d enrolled in order to become a deacon and I wanted to study the bible and try to conquer my social phobia. I also had a brief stint in the university’s humanities program, but the overall mentality of that city is too robotic. Everyone in Uppsala was fake, except for the homeless – and towards the end of my stay there I preferred their company over that of my wife, whom I was divorcing. Two semesters in a big city was almost enough for me to lose myself entirely, so I fled back home again.

And so, Stefan found himself back at square one, geographically as well as spiritually, forced out on a new quest for self-identity and existential answers. He began contemplating all his past metaphysical experiences, trying to reinterpret them from a blank slate.

– Instead of suppressing our dark sides and dismissing them as unnatural and sinister, it’s more honest to look upon ourselves in the brightest light possible. Mankind itself is diabolical evil, but the goodness inherent within us is the mightiest of warriors – it’s the self-reservation that shields us from the filth we live in today. For those who, by sheer determination, can summon both their inner light and darkness at will, the contrasts between them aren’t difficult to manage. One must acknowledge these differences, preferably through primordial self-reflection… or, like today, by rolling in the mud of hedonism. But leave the muck be for a while and you’ll find the clear water layering itself on top, whilst the grime slowly sinks beneath. In short, it’s about recognising what kind of man you are, not who you believe yourself to be, and then culling out all the shit. I don’t want to half-live by shielding myself from everything unpleasant and trying to make life as comfortable as possible. I have a personal responsibility to reach my full potential before this life ends; an outlook which is not only the very foundation for my mental well-being but also connected to the afterlife. I’m convinced that I can influence whatever comes next by leading a worthy mortal existence.

LÖNNDOM’s second album, “Viddernas tolv kapitel” from 2010, left metal behind altogether and offered more of a dark and atmospheric folk rock. Their final recording, the 2012 EP “Till Trevaren”, retained the moody nature ambience but packaged it in metal again. As far as I can tell, this was Stefan’s last musical activity until EHLDER.

– Not entirely, I was also in a doom rock band with some friends of mine. All of us shared the common ground of having grown up listening to MISFITS and DANZIG, so we began by playing covers of their songs. Then, in early 2015, I was suddenly arrested before we made it into the studio to record our own material. So, besides this little parenthesis, your observation is quite correct.


Up until this point, I think it’s safe to say that Stefan had lived a rather eventful life by anyone’s standards – demonic visitations and messianic revelations, from many years of theistic Devil-worship to several more fearing God. Nevertheless, I imagine getting caught up in what’s been described as the nation’s largest-ever drug distribution enterprise would’ve been a ride quite unlike any other.

– I was presented with a generous offer to join the operation by providing a facility – meaning, my secluded house in the woods of Fjällboda. It was vacant at the time, since I lived in the back of an unlicensed pub in Skellefteå. I suppose it was partly the sense of excitement but also simple greed which drew me into this mess, not the drugs in themselves; that’s never been my cup of tea, except for the annual mushroom trip.

One day in February 2015, Stefan arrived to work a few hours before his shift started to take the snowmobile he kept there for a ride. The northlands see heavy snowfall during the winter months and snowmobiles are a popular means of off-road travel. The sun had gone down when he returned, so it wasn’t until they leapt out of the shadows he spotted the three constables waiting for him.

– I’d already turned the engine off and so had no chance of escape. I was put in custody for… three days? I think. Not entirely sure, to be honest, since I didn’t have a watch and couldn’t see any daylight. I was then transferred to jail where they held me under tight restrictions and put me through a series of interrogations. They raided my house as well but there was no one there at the time. I spent about six weeks in solitary confinement, if I recall correctly. It’s almost frightening how easy it was to adapt to my new situation; meaning, one hour of yard access all by myself and then one hour of gym-time. The remaining twenty-two hours weren’t too difficult to kill but killed they had to be, lest my mind be ravaged by dark thoughts. A 1,500-piece puzzle is excellent brain gymnastics, especially when one hasn’t seen the actual design beforehand.

This case was heavily reported on in Swedish mainstream news. Now, I’ve gotten the impression that Stefan is not overly fond of public interest directed towards his person, so being speculated about in both media and all over the internet must’ve been decidedly unpleasant.

– To be validated with fond attention from my daughter, my woman, or my best friend is something I treasure wholeheartedly. But, yes, having any outside parties snooping into my private affairs generally makes me uncomfortable. I’ve always been able to adapt well to new situations though, so I’d prepared myself mentally for it becoming public; there’s really no point in worrying ahead of time, since nothing ever turns out the way you expect. Seen in retrospect, and all things considered, I didn’t really notice all that much of a ruckus. Once I was let out, awaiting trial, I went to live in a tent in the woods for about a month so when the papers reported about my criminal escapades, the distance was so vast it couldn’t touch me. Being able to head out to work lumber in my aunt’s forest was precisely what I needed – I just couldn’t handle being around people.


Stefan didn’t have the slightest clue what awaited him in the upcoming trial but had begun preparing for a multi-year sentence. However, spending time in his forest oasis planted in him an idea.

– Out there, being able to breathe the brisk spring air, I began seeing freedom with new eyes. My brain had been tormenting me in custody, envisioning worst-case scenarios where I’d be locked up for ages. It would’ve been around then I decided to deal with the trial at a later occasion – assuming they found me alive – and began planning for a longer stretch in the wilderness. I procured a number of basic necessities and left the car, which was hooked up to a trailer loaded with building materials and my snowmobile, by the house in Fjällboda. I drove to my aunt in a scrap vehicle which I then dumped before picking up my motocross. I took the bike through the forest, up to where the tent stood, packed together all my belongings and then, one evening in May, rode the one hundred kilometres (62 miles) to where my car was parked. I loaded the bike onto the trailer and then headed 350 kilometres (217 miles) north-west.

Was this some kind of desperate attempt at evading the impending legal consequences?

– No, I knew I’d be able to handle the prison time… despite already being familiar with the unbearable and impossible-to-avoid inmates who love nothing more than boasting about their bullet wounds and criminal heists. It was my taste of freedom that ignited something within me – I wanted to feel as free as I possibly could, if only for a short while. It was a euphoric feeling to put my survival skills to the test, to see if they’d hold up for winter. Unfortunately, I dropped my tent somewhere whilst walking aimlessly off the beaten path, looking for a good campsite, and couldn’t for the life of me back-track to find it again. From that point on, sleeping under bare skies entailed quite a few insect bites. Luckily, I at least had the option of heading back to the car for a full night’s rest; I was occasionally drawn there to listen to music and get enough distance from the mosquitoes to compose new material.

Stefan had a great deal of time to reflect over what he and Andreas had created with LÖNNDOM; listening to their mutual work helped him cement the foundations for EHLDER and, using his voice recorder, he was able to capture four albums’ worth of ideas. As it happens, the pair would be temporarily re-united in the early stages of this adventure, though there wasn’t much room to discuss collaborative musical efforts. One night, Stefan decided to make a spontaneous supply run to another friend’s property, where he’d previously stowed away various vital gear as well as a second motorbike.

– As I, at three o’clock in the morning, was driving down the mountains close to where Andreas lives, I realised I’d need a trailer. My own was parked in the woods, full of equipment, so I decided to borrow one from him. Admittedly, I hadn’t really thought my course of action through to any greater extent, or what the consequences might be, because I’d been investigating the depths of a whiskey bottle that night. To avoid rousing his dogs, I parked the car about seventy metres (229ft) from the house and walked down. The trailer was full of firewood, so I had to carefully unload everything – just a few metres from his bedroom – before finally being able to drag it down to the car silently enough. I drove the one hundred kilometres (62 miles) to pick up the equipment and then all the way back to my camp without problems but, upon returning the trailer around noon the day after, I was made urgently aware that Andreas wasn’t in the least bit amused. He’d even reported it stolen, oblivious of my involvement. One could say our meeting was as frosty as it was brief.

Despite the safe return of his trailer, it turns out Andreas wasn’t overjoyed about having unwittingly aided and abetted a wanted fugitive. Once all of this had blown over, Stefan offered Andreas his motorbike as compensation and, these days, both of them look back on the incident as an amusing anecdote. One aspect of this likely to have brought limited mirth was the aforementioned mosquito situation. Up there, in the far north – especially around midsummer – it’s almost Lovecraftian in intensity.

– Yeah, there were plenty of these bastard bloodsuckers around, but if you’re bitten heavily during spring your body will be better equipped to handle their venom in summertime. Swearing and swatting doesn’t help, not much to do but accept them. There are also mosquito jackets, earplugs, aloe vera-salve, hats, and gloves for protection. Living like this wasn’t always pleasant but I developed a massive perception; my gut feeling was sharpened to accommodate the various situations I faced out there. Like the verbal manipulation I administered on the locals who confronted me along the seventy-kilometre forest path I used for travel. People are suspicious out there in the hinterland. Or reading the bear that made a mock charge against me. At other times, I let the animal instinct take over – which, among other things, resulted in several feasts on a deer calf I killed. I also happened to stroll into an enormous rocket-firing range; that was pretty damn unnerving, suddenly having attack helicopters hovering above me.

The Swedish Armed Forces dispose over a massive military training area around the uninhabited forests of Jokkmokk municipality. It’s primarily used for different types of Air Force exercises – which is presumably what Stefan stumbled into.

– I knew it was an active training ground but thought I’d be safe by keeping to the outskirts where there were no obvious targets or craters. My car stood in the woods, covered with vegetation, about two hundred metres (656ft) from the firing range. Life on the run is very stressful and you can never relax so when I met the helicopters for the first time, my nerves were quite frail. Two of them came directly towards me on their way into the area but my car was fully camouflaged, and I kept dead still, so they flew over me without reprisal.


What about the bear?

– I was hurrying up a hill, about three hours from the car, knowing full-well there were bears in the vicinity after noticing scratch marks on a tree. I came out on a moor and saw one, about seventy-five metres (246ft) away, moving in my direction. She spotted me and then stood up on her hind legs to get my scent, which is when I think I saw cubs moving behind her. She started coming towards me pretty fast so I loosened my arm from the shoulder strap of my backpack – if charged by a bear, you should throw your bag or jacket as they will often stop and attack the item instead. However, just as I was about to drop it and take off, she turned around and disappeared. Still, I ran a few hundred metres back from whence I came and climbed up on a big rock, upon which I’d left various gear such as an axe. I still felt vulnerable because the rock wasn’t high enough, the axe wasn’t heavy enough, and the surrounding trees wouldn’t provide enough protection. I was completely at her mercy but, this time, I wasn’t destined to face the afterlife.

Before his wildlife encounter, Stefan had been in the area to scout for a good place to build his cabin. Beside concerns of having just run into a potential future neighbour, later that evening he came across quad bike tracks about 150 metres (492ft) from the moor. He concluded that, to minimise the risk of detection, he’d have to find somewhere even more remote.

– That night I dreamt about two mountain tops lined up in north-to-south direction, with a creek flowing between. In the dream, my view zoomed in on the northern peak and gave me a good overview of the southern side. That’s where I saw a natural staircase formation in the mountain, one where I’d be able to set up a basic kitchen. There were also two birches I could use to build a cover to help disperse smoke, thus preventing discovery. I woke at 4:00am and immediately checked the map for something similar to the mountains in my dream – and, funnily enough, found them only fifteen kilometres (9 miles) from the firing range. I gathered my belongings and followed the carved-out path back to the car. Unfortunately, the gearbox of my Subaru broke out there and to this day stands some two hundred metres (656ft) into a small forest track. This was about five kilometres (3 miles) from the mountains, so I walked the rest of the way.

Was it similar to your dream?

– It proved to be the strongest prophetic dream I’ve ever had, because everything I’d seen the night before was there. I dragged up windows, floorboards, a non-insulated door, and an old rusty stove. I recall eating a lot food from cans during my first time there, since that’s what I built my chimney from. I dug down to the mountain bedrock and was pleasantly surprised to find running water I could easily scoop up and drink. The walls in the corner where I’d placed the stove were mortared with stone for fire safety, everything else became standing timber. I’d built the cabin in a narrow pine grove, so it was only visible from about ten metres (32ft) distance. Unfortunately, I never got to finish the project.

Whilst vagabond life in the northern wilderness presents a unique set of inconveniencies – mosquito swarms, bears, and attack helicopters being fine examples – Stefan was simultaneously deeply pained by the separation from his three-year-old daughter, whom he hadn’t seen for several months.

– In order to cope with the longing, I’d write her letters every day – as if we were having an ongoing conversation… but, as the months passed by out there, nature’s freedom became a prison keeping me from her. As soon as I paused from the building of my cabin, I saw her before me. Even when I worked myself half to death, thoughts would constantly come… if she was okay with her mother, if she missed me, and whether we were ever going to see each other again.


Come August, he could take it no longer. After a night of drinking, Stefan decided to head back to Skellefteå – hoping to at least catch a glimpse of his daughter from afar. Having almost emptied his motorbike of fuel, he was forced to secure alternate means of transportation. At 2:00am in the morning, parked outside someone’s summer cabin, Stefan found a car with the keys left in the ignition and then took off into the night. He first set aim towards his remote house in the woods of Fjällboda, hoping to stock up on water without risking discovery. Alas, upon arrival, he found that someone had burnt it to the ground.

– When I got there, early in the morning, I was still a bit tipsy so my spontaneous reaction was to laugh. I stood there for a while, watching the police cordons surrounding what little remained of my house – which had been full of family heirloom furniture – now reduced to nothing but a blackened brick chimney standing amongst the ashes. But, as I approached, I could hear water running in the basement where I’d drawn pipes from a spring further up the mountain, so I got my drink after all. At least the bastards couldn’t take that away from me! I drove down to Skellefteå and hid in a treegrove outside my daughter’s home… for about ten minutes, before I got cold feet. What if she actually came out? I mean, I couldn’t just run up to her; that would only be confusing, since she knew daddy had been naughty and was with the police.

About ninety kilometres (55 miles) into the drive back from Skellefteå, well on his merry way to return the vehicle he’d borrowed, Stefan stopped at a rest area by the Byske River. He’d left the car to enjoy his food break by the water when realising that someone had recognised the stolen automobile. At the time, after a string of mysterious break-ins and vehicular thefts, people in the area were on high alert.

– I heard the brakes of a car and saw the driver step out and look in my direction; I instantly realised I’d been made. I threw on my ghillie suit (camouflage clothing) and took off running. Within ten minutes, the back roads around me were swarming with cars. I remained hidden in a ditch, observing, and learned to recognise the vehicles cruising along the road; there were an estimated sixteen people involved in the manhunt. It must’ve taken me fifty minutes to crawl to a place where I thought it would be safe to cross the main road unseen. When running across, I noticed a police patrol had arrived. They were a few hundred metres away, and one of the cops yelled, ‘For fucks sake, stop!’ – bugger that, I picked up speed as if my rear end had been set aflame.

Stefan darted into the woods and ran until he was certain he’d lost his pursuers. After almost three hours of hiding in a trench on the outskirts of a small village called Glommerträsk, he began surveying the options at hand. The only feasible means of returning to his campsite involved the acquisition of some mode of transportation – something which would be impossible at the present location, given how the locals were assisting police. He had no choice but to try his luck in Arvidsjaur, a town about forty kilometres (24 miles) away. Since it was in the same direction, he decided to first make his way back to the rest area for an updated situational assessment.

– Around 11:30pm, I was back to where I started. I waded into the water under the bridge and crawled up about two metres from the police cruiser, where I could overhear them saying that they were calling off the search. By then, about six hours had passed since the call went out. Once the area had calmed down, I started walking towards Arvidsjaur. I broke into a house on the way, found some food, and then rested for a few hours. When setting out again I kept to the woods along the main road, because I occasionally recognised some of the cars from the day before. I came across an abandoned railroad track which I concluded must run towards Arvidsjaur… but, as the hours went by, doubts started creeping into my mind. I began thinking I was instead headed straight out into massive expanses of wilderness.

But, finally – after a forty-kilometre trek – Stefan arrived in Arvidsjaur, where he spent a grand total of ninety minutes before being arrested. I’m tempted to think there might even have been some sense of relief at this point.

– Life on the run is pretty exhausting, especially when you don’t know whether you’re being actively pursued or not. It was an intense and unusual time in my life, but I always felt safe because I followed my instinct and raw will. Sure, I caused a lot of mischief during my outing, such as breaking into houses in search for food and drink, or stealing a car from necessity. But in this no-man dwelling, under relatively short time, I was also given the chance to enact my ideas about what life should be like; to not remain comfortable on the couch, taking just a little from those who live in abundance but never too much from nature. To not fear death, even if it entails a bear eating you from the legs up. To always listen to my gut-feeling. Unfortunately, I had to lead the cops to the campsite – mostly because I wanted my equipment back after prison – so the locals found both the cabin and my car and vandalised them.

I’m wondering how far into this surreal process he, presumably for the first time in a while, really started feeling like himself again. Digesting the dream-like events of these past few months sounds like quite a handful.

– Very rarely have I contemplated if it’s really me acting in the moment but, in retrospect, I can see why I was so different then as compared to now. Ever since this ordeal I’ve been more mindful about dwelling in the present moment, because I no longer take anything for granted. I find great joy in the laughter of my woman, the hugs from my daughter, the love from my brothers, and support from my family – however, if need be, I wouldn’t hesitate to act similarly again. I now regard everything I experience as part of my personal preparations for whatever lies ahead. Also, when one starts reflecting over the past in an interview such as this, it’s quite the realisation how tied together Andreas and my work is. I can see how fast the years must’ve passed by when I struggle to remember the details which laid the grounds for who I am today. My boyhood dream was so clear I never even considered ’what I would become’, because the obvious outcome was to keep living on our family farm in Hjoggböle; taking care of the animals, playing guitar, hunting for food, and tinkering with engines. These days, Hjoggböle is only thirty kilometres (18 miles) from where I live and there will be more hunting once I finally get my firearms license back and can take over my father’s rifles. Beside this, my path appears pretty staked out.


This article can also be found in Bardo Archivology Vol. 1, a printed anthology with selected features from the online archive. Additional content includes IRKALLIAN ORACLE, AOSOTH, NIFELHEIM, UNPURE, MORBID, ABIGOR, NUMINOUS, CLANDESTINE BLAZE, RIDE FOR REVENGE, AKITSA, MALIGN, NORDVIS, ARMAGEDDA, and DEATHSPELL OMEGA – all presented in ambitious aesthetics with plenty of custom artwork. More information here.