Tales from the Jugular
A Look at Metal Producer Peter Tagtgren
By: Eric Compton | Published: April 11, 2014
Twenty-four years ago Peter Tagtgren helped pioneer the Swedish death metal scene. At
the time there were a handful of Swedish acts getting their knuckles wet with brutality.
Tagtgren traveled stateside to Florida and picked up the art from Malevolent
Creation, Suffocation and Morbid Angel. He carried that sound back to Sweden and
planted the seeds for a fruitful career both as a musician and producer. His band Hypocrisy
combined the Floridan death metal sound with a European flavor. It was different than what
Dark Tranquility and At The Gates were doing at the time
because Tagtgren was not a heavy user of NWOBHM melody or riffs. Bands like Hypocrisy,
Dismember, Entombed and Edge Of Sanity borrowed heavily from US thrash and death
to breed their own wicked children. Tagtgren not only enjoyed success with Hypocrisy, a
band that is still very active today, but also reached superstar status in Europe under
his industrial-metal band called Pain. The talented Swede has also played
in numerous black metal bands in Europe including his own called The Abyss.
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Aside from his contributions to the scene as a musician and vocalist Tagtgren might also
be better known for his work as a producer. My first listen to his production came in 1994
with Hypocrisy's "The Fourth Dimension". Contrary to Tagtgren stating this is
his least favorite record I think this was the first in a multitude of his excellent
recordings. The Abyss studio came to fruition a few months later with an explosion of
Tagtgren productions that captured various European extreme acts. Tagtgren's finest work,
in my opionion, is the raw treatment given Hypocrisy's "Abducted". By 1996
Tagtgren and The Abyss studio were the proverbial "talk of the town" and since
then the studio and Tagtgren have been in high demand.
Studio - The Abyss - Ludvika, Sweden (Studio A)
Hypocrisy - "The Abducted"
Amorphis - "Circle"
Dimmu Borgir - "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant"
Enslaved - "Blodhemn"
Immortal - "At The Heart Of Winter"
The Abyss - "The Other Side"
Early on he worked mostly with extreme acts like Dark Funeral, Naglfar and Marduk. I think
once Pain caught on in Europe then the studio and his production work came to light. For
over two decades Tagtgren has perfected the black and death metal sound but also worked
with thrash bands like Destruction and Overkill. He has also collaborated with traditional
metal acts like Astral Doors and Sabaton. His experience both as a musician and singer
allows him a well rounded balance in the studio to produce, mix and master catered to what
the genre typically demands.
--Extremely faster sounds overall
--Raw guitar riffs with heavy distortion
--Tom drums up front, heavy use of cymbals
--"Hellish" keys or orchestra backing
--Some loops or samples
--Proficient with drum machines and industrial sounds
Tagtgren normally works on about four to six albums a year. On the horizon is the new
Tagtgren's brother Tommy also produces out of Abyss Studios
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