Retro rock is a massive deal at this point in the 21st century, but it’s hard to ignore the reality that most nostalgic rock bands are a bit too polite and polished to appeal to the average metalhead. Swedish miscreants The Dahmers are a different matter entirely, thanks to their inspired combination of furious, singalong garage rock and lyrics that explore the dark, blood-soaked horrors that lurk in the deep recesses of our minds. On new, second album In The Dead Of Night, these residents of Kristianstad, Sweden, present a rowdy, black-hearted and heroically goofy alternative to the backward-looking status quo. Plus, of course, they are cheerfully paying tribute to one of history’s most terrifying serial killers along the way.
“We’re all very good friends and we used to spend a lot of time together watching horror movies, so the whole dark theme that surrounds the band came very naturally,” says guitarist/vocalist Rasmus Grahn. “We got our first show but we didn’t have a name and someone just threw [Jeffrey] Dahmer out there and it just stuck. It’s quite easy to remember, isn’t it? We just enjoy all the dark and mysterious things surrounding horror and serial killers. We also like the contrast between our so-called theme and the sort of melodic music we write.”
Specialising in short, sharp bursts of rock’n’roll that owe a significant debt to the Ramones and Thin Lizzy, but with several tons of Monster Mash-style kitsch, The Dahmers come across like a grotesque, guitar-wielding cartoon, albeit one that ends with shrieks of terror and an avalanche of blood and guts. Not surprisingly, the Swedes are rapidly winning over fans of riotous psych-rock and macabre B-movie bravado across Europe and beyond.
“We never expected things to go this far to begin with, so any progress has been a high for us. The first 7” single, the first LP, the first European tour, they’ve all been great. I don’t think we’ve had a serious low point yet…” Rasmus notes, pausing dramatically, “…but we did find out that our local record store owner is a vampire!”
If The Dahmers do ever find themselves on the receiving end of a serial killer’s bloody urges, they already have a plan to return from beyond the grave and continue their career. But be warned: they’re bringing someone special along to help out.
“What would we do if we came back from the dead? That’s easy,” says Rasmus. “We’d bring Jeffrey Dahmer back with us and put him on vocals.”
In The Dead Of Night is out now via Lövely