Nordvis I

Nordvis I

by Niklas Göransson

Nordvisor is an ambitious label compilation showcasing an unwavering commitment to authenticity. As its release looms, Andreas Pettersson reflects on the resilience and vision that have guided Nordvis.


ANDREAS PETTERSSON: About ten years ago, I felt a calling to chronicle the musical soul of Nordvis; to weave together a selection from the roster in a way that allows outsiders to clearly identify the common thread. I wanted to show that the label isn’t confined to a single music style but united by cohesive feelings and atmospheres – whether it’s folk, extreme metal, or anything else.

Scheduled for an August 2 release, “Nordvisor – Ett samlingsverk från Nordvis” is a compilation of exclusive material from the analogue sounds of the label’s roster. It is a vinyl-only title: a double LP limited to five hundred copies.

ANDREAS: The booklet includes an editorial explaining my motivations. But in a nutshell, “Nordvisor” is a means for me to depict the label as I see it – where I came from and what the original idea was. As such, all contributions were written and recorded exclusively for this project. So, it’s not just unreleased or rare material like the old Moonfog compilation.

Moonfog Productions was a Norwegian label founded in 1993 by SigurdSatyrWongraven from SATYRICON.

In 1996, Moonfog released a compilation called “Crusade from the North”; it wasn’t the first black metal label sampler, but certainly the most ambitious to date. Besides alternate mixes for bands like DARKTHRONE, SATYRICON, and ISENGARD, it also had an unreleased STORM track.

ANDREAS: It was a great sampler, but “Nordvisor” is more of a collaborative project than your typical compilation. I envisioned two chapters: one with more digestible, serene, and harmonious tones, and the other focusing on metal. This way, you can experience the Nordvis atmosphere in two distinct formats: one stripped-down and the other more compact. There’s also some overlap, with bands like GRIFT and BHLEG.

GRIFT and BHLEG, both of whom are represented on “Nordvisor”, began as black metal bands but have since incorporated more folk elements. Erik Gärdefors from GRIFT regularly tours solo, performing his metal material in a troubadour setting. Similarly, the compilation features several bands otherwise known for heavy music: SONS OF CROM, OVER THE VOIDS, VARDE, and SAIVA.

Additional contributions come from ritual ambient artist Draugurinn, FORNDOM, dungeon synth project ÖRNATORPET, and folk bands BLOOD AND SUN, HAGATHORN, FIELDS OF MILDEW, JODÖDEN, UNDANTAGSFOLK, and PRAG 83.

ANDREAS: “Nordvisor” includes an eight-page booklet in which each artist shares a few thoughts about their contribution and history with the label. I thought it would help tie everything together in a manner where people can sit down and read about the music and how it – at least in the eyes of its composer – fits Nordvis. So, if you want to experience this properly, you should listen to it on vinyl.

Will it be available via streaming?

ANDREAS: That has yet to be decided, but I’d advise against holding out for a digital version. Streaming “Nordvisor” – which is meant to be heard in analogue – without the whole package, you won’t get the full experience. Everything has a purpose, from its cover and written content to the actual music, all of which must be processed in symbiosis. And if you don’t want that, then you don’t need to listen to it. In addition, I’m not usually a huge fan of coloured vinyl, but this one looks like a forest bed in autumn.


The cover photo was taken by Andreas himself – a mere ten-minute walk from the Nordvis compound in the forests of northernmost Sweden.

ANDREAS: To some, it might just be a dead tree lying on the ground – but for me, this old pine snag with crooked branches holds profound symbolic meaning. I came across it while out walking with my partner up the mountain behind our house and had an instant epiphany. I’d been contemplating the visual presentation of “Nordvisor”, and I’ve always felt a connection to tree snags for some reason.

Snags, or dead-standing trees, play a crucial role in forest ecosystems. They provide habitat for various wildlife, including birds and insects, and contribute to the nutrient cycle as they decompose.

ANDREAS: They’re like a mix of the old and new in nature, and look a bit like a root system, braided and parched by age and sun. Above all, snags are dried out but still somehow connected to the soil. This one lay in a way that made me think, ‘Yes, “Nordvisor” is the trunk, and its branches represent the contributions. Despite their individuality, they are connected as one.’ It fell into place naturally as a fitting presentation.

Was it a conscious choice to start with the acoustic chapter to emphasise that Nordvis is not a pure metal label?

ANDREAS: Yes, that’s probably the case, even if it was an unconscious decision. I’ve never liked that Nordvis is seen as some form of black metal label – we’ve never been close to that ideologically. There’s nothing within Nordvis that is ‘black metal’. However, I suppose one must use that term for marketing because it’s what superficial people relate to as a music style. Whereas in the past, it was more of an ideology and a way of living.


To understand the origins of Nordvis, one must first examine Andreas’ musical past; LÖNNDOM in particular.

LÖNNDOM was founded in early 2004, a few months after Andreas and Stefan Sandström recorded “Ond spiritism” – the third album of their black metal band, ARMAGEDDA – at Necromorbus Studio.

ANDREAS: The initial plan was to record three LÖNNDOM EPs – all by ourselves. So, Stefan and I built a primitive home studio in the house we shared. As I recall, we had a few microphones for the drums, but no mic stands – ingeniously solved through a combination of chairs and duct tape. Once we got everything rolling, the material for “Hågkomster från nordliga nejder” emerged naturally.

The duo finished “Hågkomster från nordliga nejder” during the spring of 2005.

ANDREAS: Stefan and I both thought, ‘Damn, we really have to explore this further!’ In a purely emotional sense, LÖNNDOM felt quite detached from our previous work. We then let the recording germinate for some time. Our hesitation mostly stemmed from not knowing which label to collaborate with, so we decided to wait and see how events would unfold. The concept of Nordvis had already been forming in my mind – however, being unemployed and lacking financial resources, I wasn’t able to do very much.

The following year, Andreas secured an apprenticeship and was subsequently offered employment at a local mine. He and Stefan are from the northernmost part of Sweden – a region known for vast natural resources, particularly iron ore, and its rich history of mining.

ANDREAS: Modern mining is complex, largely involving the operation of various machines. My duties were primarily what’s known as tunnel support. We excavated shafts along ore nodes, and I focused on reinforcing the bedrock to ensure the safety of our workers. That’s how I began my career as a miner, and I toiled underground for the next ten years.

LÖNNDOM’s debut album, “Fälen från norr”, was recorded in the winter of 2006. Now employed full-time, Andreas had the financial means to self-release it.

ANDREAS: Stefan and I were adamant: ‘Everything must be done our way!’ We wanted the best possible presentation in every aspect; this was of paramount importance. LÖNNDOM was sacred to us, so entrusting it to a label that didn’t share our mindset and vision would’ve felt like sacrilege. By then, we were thoroughly disillusioned with record companies. I thought, ‘Let’s give it a shot’, and that’s exactly what we did. Or rather, what I did.


In June 2007, “Fälen från norr” became the first title on Andreas’ label, Nordvis Produktion. Releasing the debut album of their new music project through a fresh business venture must’ve felt rather satisfying.

ANDREAS: Not exactly; my initial reaction was a crushing disappointment. I’d used a cheap Bulgarian printer, so the booklet, inlay, and everything else looked outright appalling. But after pondering the matter, we thought, ‘Hang on – this is quintessentially LÖNNDOM! Filthy, imperfect, and rough around the edges… yet not bad.’ I’m still proud of “Fälen från norr” as the inaugural Nordvis release.

How did the distribution aspect go?

ANDREAS: Well, I did my best to spread the word, leveraging the few contacts I had from our ARMAGEDDA days. I managed all the band’s communications; Stefan took no part in it. However, my network wasn’t particularly extensive.

That admission is unsurprising since Andreas – besides living remotely in the far north of Sweden – isn’t exactly what one might call a socially outward-going person.

ANDREAS: True, but there’s a distinction between managing emails at home and being out and about, fraternising daily. That’s always been a dilemma for me. Creating something like Nordvis inevitably involves interacting with the outside world. There are trade-offs, some of which are necessary. That’s why it’s crucial to have a peaceful living space where you can disconnect and spend time alone.

Did you learn the record industry by yourself, or was there some kind of mentor?

ANDREAS: That would be Nico from Eisenwald, at least in the beginning. He helped Nordvis in many ways, for which I am eternally grateful. About a year after “Fälen…” came out, I’d sort of given up – and that’s when Nico stepped in and offered to give it a proper re-issue through Eisenwald.

Established in 2001, Germany’s Eisenwald Records is an independent label and mail-order that specialises in black metal and related genres, such as dark ambient and neofolk.

ANDREAS: By then, I’d stowed away the remaining stock of our first pressing in my attic; I still have entire spindles of CDs lying around. I didn’t know anything about distributing records and perhaps lacked the motivation to learn. I wanted to create something but wasn’t fully prepared for the time and effort it required.

In April 2008, Eisenwald re-issued “Fälen från norr”. The die-hard vinyl edition, limited to a hundred copies, includes a seven-inch with “Hågkomster från nordliga nejder”.

ANDREAS: Nico has always been rather inventive with these things. I mentioned the unreleased EP, so he suggested a limited edition of “Fälen…” with “Hågkomster…” included. I also wrote a manifesto for the insert, outlining LÖNNDOM’s ethos and the intention of “Hågkomster…” as the beginning of a trilogy.


Two years later, in early 2010, Eisenwald released LÖNNDOM’s second album, “Viddernas tolv kapitel”. Here, the duo abandoned metal altogether in favour of dark, gloomy, and atmospheric folk.

ANDREAS: Since we had previously worked exclusively with metal as a musical medium, it was interesting to interpret our creations using only acoustic guitars. I’m thrilled with how this album came out, but it took us two attempts – “Viddernas tolv kapitel” was recorded twice. We weren’t satisfied with the first version, so it was discarded and re-done from scratch.

By then, Andreas had founded his gothic rock band DE ARMA and recorded material for a split with Britain’s FEN. He also had a brief stint in WHIRLING, a black metal band whose debut, “Faceless Phenomena”, was issued by Eisenwald in February 2010.

That same month, Nordvis released an ARMAGEDDA compilation titled “Volkermord – The Appearance”.

ANDREAS: Initially, I didn’t focus much on the label but eventually realised that I had to at least try – just to see what would happen. So, I compiled some unreleased ARMAGEDDA material to help build a buffer for Nordvis. It was also about giving our old recordings a sense of purpose, as they might otherwise have been forgotten. Surprisingly, there was still significant interest in ARMAGEDDA, even after seven years of inactivity. That’s when Sound Pollution approached me regarding a distribution deal.

That would’ve been a relief, ridding yourself of the logistics.

ANDREAS: Yes and no. Nordvis has always had an active mail-order, but Sound Pollution stocking our titles was a definite game-changer. With a reliable Swedish distribution partner, I could accelerate my release schedule. Gradually, I established more such partnerships: Relapse in the US, Displeased Records in Holland, and Eisenwald in Germany. It was around then everything truly began taking shape.

In May 2010, “Inner Receivings” by SORGELDOM – featuring members from WHIRLING – became the label’s first title from a band not involving Andreas. Later that summer, Nordvis released another ARMAGEDDA compilation: “I Am”. According to the booklet, it comprises recently unearthed tracks initially lost around the turn of the millennium.

ANDREAS: We had plenty of old ARMAGEDDA recordings lying around, so it was the next logical step after “Volkermord…”. The songs are decent enough – but honestly, I think my primary motivation was financing future Nordvis releases. That’s how I see it now.

You are implying that “I Am” isn’t necessarily an essential part of ARMAGEDDA’s discography?

ANDREAS: Something along those lines; it might not have made much difference if that material had been kept under lock and key. On the other hand, if you’ve served the Devil for so long – why not use Him for your own purposes? I don’t know what else to say about this; let’s just leave it at that.


Exactly one year after SORGELDOM’s album, in May 2011 came the first Nordvis release featuring a musician outside Andreas’ social circle: THE CREVICES BELOW, a project by Dis Pater from Australian black metal band MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY.

ANDREAS: I was really into MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY at the time. They were already committed to a label, but Tony (Dis Pater) sent me a few demo recordings of his other project, THE CREVICES BELOW. It wasn’t exactly in line with what I’d envisioned for Nordvis, but I loved those songs – and still do.

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