International Hardcore Bands You Need to Know About: Śmierć

Photo: Joerg Baumgarten

Specialists of a melodic strain of d-beat, I first became of Śmierć around the time of their second album, 2021's Paranoja. Coming out of the punk scene in Stockholm, Sweden, the band's lyrics are all sung/screamed in Polish by vocalist Ninka.

"Krisse formed the band in the spring of 2017—together with Sumo and Calle on drums and bass—with the urge to play straight forward, yet melodic, d-beat orientated punk," Ninka says over email about Śmierć's beginnings. "Having previously played in bands such as Idiot Ikon and Imperial Leather, the guys wanted to try out new grounds.

"When I joined the band I wanted to approach the music in a way I had not done before. I am originally a drummer and have never been a single vocalist in any of my previous bands. I wanted to be brave in my singing and my wording. I've had a long time interest in the Polish punk scene so I introduced the idea of singing in Polish and Śmierć was a fact." Their band name translates to "death" in Polish.

Śmierć's latest release came out in late 2022, a three-track ripper called Prawda:

"When I write the lyrics I am inspired by old Polish poetry, young rappers, books I've read, and political arguments," says Ninka. "I also steal huge chunks of lyrics from great Polish bands and use them in our songs. I used to be fluent in Polish, but I feel my Polish sucks nowadays. So what to do but to borrow a little from the great masters. Vocally, I carry Poly Styrene, Billie Holiday, Jello Biafra, and Ewa Demarczyk close to heart when singing.

Founding Śmierć guitarist Krisse also offered some thoughts via email: "Music wise, I see this band as my totally unhindered outlet where almost all the things I come up with on the guitar actually could fit in.

"We really strive to not have any box of how Śmierć is supposed to sound. We see it as an ever evolving force that we just tag along and see where we end up. But some bands that are close to my heart include Kuro, The Birthday Party, Disorder, Joy Division, Cross Stitched Eyes, Disaffect, and Rudimentary Peni. Those bands always have a big, but indirect, impact of the stuff I come up with."

I asked Ninka about the music scene in Stockholm: "I’m 48 years old and I don’t get out a lot, so it would be presumptuous of me to say that I know a lot about what the kids are up to. But I do know there are great bands that I get to experience. You would definitively enjoy a live show with Kerosene Kream, Vidro, Hällregn, Svärta, and Swordwielder, to name a few."

Krisse closes out the piece with some interesting Śmierć developments: "This summer is full of European festivals, etc., but we are currently booking a US West Coast tour for this fall, so be sure to look out for upcoming Śmierć gigs in your area!"


Śmierć on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp


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