Johan 'Liiva' Axelsson is a Swedish extreme metal vocalist, most widely recognized as the founding vocalist of popular melodic death metal band Arch Enemy, as well as a former member of Carnage, Furbowl, and NonExist. He is currently working as vocalist with the band Hearse.
Johan Liiva formed Carnage with childhood friend Michael Amott in 1988, and appeared on "The Day Man Lost" demo, but left the band before their debut album was recorded in 1990. He went on to form Furbowl as a guitarist/vocalist, with Max Thornell on drums. The band released their debut album Those Shredded Dreams as a two piece on Step One Records in 1992. The album also featured guest solos on two songs by Michael Amott. Furbowl would add a guitarist, Nicklas Stenemo, and release their second full length The Autumn Years in 1994 on Black Mark Productions, but the project folded soon after.
After the demise of Furbowl in mid 1990s, Johan once again teamed up with Michael Amott to form the band Arch Enemy in 1996. After releasing their first album Black Earth in Japan that same year, the album became a success, receiving airplay on Japan's MTV Rocks! and in 1998 Arch Enemy were invited to tour Japan, and sign a new deal with Toy's Factory records. Arch Enemy released Stigmata worldwide in 1998, and the band toured for the first time. In 1999, the band released Burning Bridges, and Burning Japan Live 1999, the latter proved to be Johan's last album with Arch Enemy.
In 2000, Johan said he received a letter from Michael Amott saying Arch Enemy would be auditioning a new singer, and that Johan should seek other projects. Shocked, Johan went on to form the band NonExist with guitarist Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda), and drummer Matte Modin (Dark Funeral, Defleshed). The band only released one album, Deus Deceptor, in 2002 before parting ways.
Johan soon formed the band Hearse, with Mattias Ljung on guitar and ex-Furbowl bandmate Max Thornell on drums. The band have been very active ever since, releasing Dominion Reptilian in 2003 on Hammerheart Records, Armageddon, Mon Amour in 2004 on Candlelight Records, The Last Ordeal in 2005 on Karmageddon Records, and In These Veins on Dental Records in 2006.
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