Interview: Toke Eld (The Cleansing)

Last month, I reviewed The Cleansing’s new album Feeding The Inevitable. I have given the album a 5-skull rating. That’s reason enough for me to interview Toke Eld, vocalist of The Cleansing.

For those of you who haven’t read the review yet and don’t know anything about this band, shame on you. The Cleansing are a Death Metal act from Copenhagen, Denmark. The band formed in 2007, released their debut album, Poisened Legacy, in 2009 and their second album, Feeding The Inevitable, is out now.

Want to know more about the band? Make the jump for my interview with Toke Eld.

Dose of Metal: Hello Toke, how are you doing? Feeding The Inevitable was released a while ago and has gotten great reviews so far. Are you overall satisfied with how the album was received by critics?

Toke Eld: Hey, what’s up man! Yeah the reviews have been pretty good so far! Not like 10/10 all the time, but pretty good. Very much like “Poisoned Legacy” actually. To do a follow up album that’s as good as or better than the previous always feels good. Of course you always hope every reviewer will go bananas and throw the big 10 after you, but it’s all in the ear of the beholder. Or is it the behearer? Anyways what’s most important, we are very satisfied with it ourselves.

DoM: I didn’t get a chance to listen to your debut album, Poisoned Legacy, yet. In what ways is the new album different to your first album?

Toke: Well, it’s somewhat darker in the production. More raw. Which makes the music a little rawer. The songs are more streamlined in my opinion. And frankly better. There were some really good songs on “Poisoned Legacy”, but I think that “Feeding the Inevitable” is a better overall album. Which is how it should be, right?

Feeding The Inevitable artwork

DoM: On Feeding The Inevitable you often mention God in your lyrics. Is religion something that inspires you in your lyrics? Anti-religious lyrics within Death Metal, especially in the Scandinavian scene, aren’t uncommon. Coming from Denmark, did you ever have to face some kind of backlash from religious people?

Toke: I really don’t believe in any god. And I honestly think one should be committed if you truly believe in an almighty god. I believe in the universe. I believe in nature, evolution, facts and consequence of actions. Not some kind of pre-set path that we all follow unknowingly. But I don’t hate religion. I only hate fanatics. If some people can have a better life when they follow some spiritual guidelines, then who am I to question that need? In the end, you only have yourself to rely on, so whatever works for you is fine by me, as long as I don’t need to be converted to make you feel better or safe about your own religion or belief system. When I mention god in my lyrics, it’s mostly meant as a metaphor. I do write some anti-religious lyrics, but it’s more as a reminder to never lose sight of yourself. Luckily here in Denmark we have freedom of speech, so a backlash from religious people would be highly unlikely. As long as it’s not anti-Islamic.

DoM: What inspires you the most when writing lyrics?

Toke: Nothing specific really. It might be something I see in a movie that gets me in a certain mindset. Or it might be music. Or a book I read. Everything can inspire me! But I try to avoid reading other death metal lyrics when I write a new album. I want to do my own thing as much as I can.

DoM: Coming from a scene as rich in talent as Denmark, how do you face the challenge to stand out from all of the other Danish bands?

Toke: It’s always difficult to stand out. There’s no really formula to do it. For us, we just try to do what we think is best and what we would like ourselves. Of course it’s almost impossible to stay truly objective in that regard, but we just try to do the best we can. If we don’t stand out in the end, we only have ourselves to blame.

DoM: In my review of your new album, I’ve especially praised the songwriting because the songs feel very complete within itself but work perfectly as a whole. The album is very diverse but instead of the songs sounding too different from each other, there is an underlying leitmotif that contains your sound in the purest form. Is that something you’ve wanted to achieve with this record?

Toke: I think it must be the goal of any band to have strong individual songs that also works great as a whole. We always have that goal, but I definitely think we achieved it better with “Feeding the Inevitable” than with “Poisoned Legacy”.

[caption id="attachment_14563" align="alignright" width="200" caption="The Cleansing kicking ass live"]

The Cleansing - Third Eye Staring

DoM: Which bands inspire you the most?

Toke: Lyrics wise I really try not to be inspired by other death metal bands. But if I had to mention one it would probably be Morbid Angel. Both musically and lyrically they have transcended the genre (they already did that with Domination) and proven that (within this genre) you can do whatever you damn well please. This is something I approve!

DoM: Which vocalists inspire you personally the most?

Toke: There have been so many. Different vocalist for different reasons. David Vincent for his articulation, his way of delivering lines with authority. I my mind he is the best death metal vocalist because he doesn’t do clichés. Glen Benton in the early days. His clear and speedy pronouncing. Frank Mullen for his über aggressive vocal style. Johan Larsson from Seance for his sound. Our own Danish Brian Petrowsky from Iniquity who is now deceased. He had a very unique vocal style that I have never heard matched.

DoM: For someone who has never before heard of The Cleansing, try to sum-up your sound in 5 words.

Toke: Haha damnation! Brutal, aggressive, catchy, (fairly) modern death-metal.

DoM: We’ve covered quite a few Danish Metal bands on our site, including Die, Disintegrated and Mordax. Are there any local bands you’d recommend for lovers of Scandinavian Metal?

Toke: For sure, check out the already established Dawn of Demise, Spectral Mortuary and Corpus Mortale if you don’t know about them already. Then there’s upcoming bands like Dreadlord, Death Comes Pale and Defilementory. Something for every taste hehe.

The Cleansing

DoM: Now that you’ve just released your second album, what does the future hold for The Cleansing?

Toke: I really just want to tour! Get our asses on the road and promote the album as much as possible. We have some shows at the end of the year which I’m really looking towards. Other than that, just slowly begin to work on the next album I think. We are not Nile, so we are not going on a 2½ year tour hehe.

DoM: Are there any goals that you’ve set yourself as a band?

Toke: As fans of death metal, we just want to contribute with the best death metal we can come up with. We don’t have any illusions that we are going to get rich by playing this genre. We do it because it’s in our hearts. But of course, it would be nice to get a bigger audience that we have right now. I think that must be part of the goal.

DoM: If you could tour with any five bands in the world, who’d you most like to share gigs with?

Toke: Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Nile, Hate Eternal, Behemoth would be a good start I think! Hehe. Personally I would love to go on tour with Annihilator as I’m a big fan, but it probably wouldn’t be well suited haha. I wouldn’t mind going on tour with Origin either.

DoM: Is there anything else you would like to tell your readers at doseofmetal.com?

Toke: Buy our album guys! Or at least get hold of it and listen to it till’ your ears bleed! And then go to your local venue and demand that we come and play live for you guys. You call, we kill!

DoM: Thank you for your time!

[ Photo Credit: Kasper Fladmose ]

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