SWEDISH METAL CLASSICS - lost, hidden and forgotten
EMI Music Sweden is proud to present the reissues of some Swedish sought after hard rock and metal classics. We’ve dug the archives for the original tapes and remastered the audio to sound better than ever! Finally, a pack of well hidden gems and forgotten jewels get a chance to reach a brand new audience across the globe! The power of Swedish steel has been feared since the dawn of metal. Northern Europe embraced its arrival on the music scene in the 70’s, and bands like November, Neon Rose and Heavy Load ignited the fuse that would trigger the metal explosion in the early 80’s. Propelled by the success of Europe, new bands popped up in just about every city and by 1985 it was estimated that over 50 000 musicians were active within the metal movement. Most of the bands were short lived, but an impressive number released albums that reached far beyond the Swedish borders. Swedish metal was especially appreciated in Japan. Today, with metal being bigger than ever, it’s about time we rediscover some of these gems. Swedish Metal Classics provides an exciting range of bands, from those who made it big to the misfortunate ones that never reached the masses despite the obvious quality of their work. Some of the albums located in the vaults are sought after collector items and this is the first time they’re available outside the original LP format. As an added bonus, in several cases, unreleased tracks have been added, as well as rare demos. So, sink your teeth into some of the best rock and roll you’ve probably never heard before.
25th March marks the release of the campaign and compilation album Swedish Metal Classics. The campaign consists of 24 albums where 10 of them haven’t been available since the vinyl days back in the 80’s. Four of these even contain previously unreleased tracks, like demos from the debut albums of Alien and Biscaya and the full unreleased second album from Bedlam.
This was more of a project than a band and musically they had more in common with American radio oriented rock like Pat Benatar than Heavy Metal. Initiated by now deceased bass player Lars Hallberg, Clown made one album in 1981 that hardly stirred up the airwaves. - I can’t remember that I heard any of our songs on the radio, says singer Marianne Flynner who fronted the project. The album, which features a cover picture of Marianne, was recorded with the aid of session musicians such as Björn Uhr (Attack) and Staffan Astner (Carola, Gyllene Tider, Louise Hoffsten) on guitars and John Donelly (Scafell Pike) on drums. - I think we only did three gigs, Marianne remembers. One at Kåren in Stockholm, another one in Piteå and one in Malmö. The latter was a nightmare. I had a bad perm and had just dyed my hair with henna. It’s amazing how I could belt out those loud screams. I have a fairly thin voice. Marianne moved on to become a backup singer for Roxette, Electric Banana Band and Eva Dahlgren before launching a solo career as a country artist. She was nominated for a Grammis award for the song Country Girl in 1993.
Proud, formed in Landskrona in southern Sweden in 1982 as Burn, was one of countless native hard rock bands to emerge, only to quickly disappear, in the mid 80’s. They made, following a name dispute and consequent change, one decent album for EMI, produced by Caj Högberg - Fire Breaks The Dawn in 1984. It showcased their love for classic rock such as Deep Purple, but also captured the current trends in metal, touching on the neoclassical sound spearheaded by Yngwie Malmsteen, blending keyboards with solid guitar work. The guitar playing from Peter Horvath and Magnus Olsson far surpassed the vocals delivered by Anders Magnell; a common problem for Swedish bands at the time. The lyrically black, emotional content and overall mood rendered them slightly inaccessible. Today, metal fans all over the world, consider the band’s only album a forgotten gem. The lineup was completed by Bobby Horvath on bass and Anders Holmqvist on drums.
West coast based Biscaya could have had a world renown keyboard player in the band. Guitar player Pär Edwardsson reveals that Mats Olausson provided the keyboards on the demo that got them the album deal. - He played in Motvind and didn’t want to quit, so we got another keyboard player for the album. In 1989, Mats Olausson joined Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and stayed with him for 14 years. Biscaya was a project lead by Pär and drummer Birger Löfman. They found singer Mads Clausen, bass player Hans Johansson and keyboard player Magnus Strömberg, but never really made a serious attempt to make it big. The demo they sent to Electra Records, however, landed them a record deal. - We recorded it in Stockholm in 1983 with PJ Jägerhult from Attack producing. Europe was finishing their debut album in the same studio, says Pär. Heavily influenced by Deep Purple and Rainbow, Biscaya also had a love for bands like UK, Genesis and Yes, lending a dramatic touch to their songs. The band was discovered in Japan where the album sold 15 000 copies, more than double of what it sold in Sweden. - A journalist from Burrn Magazine in Tokyo called me while Iwas on the toilet, Pär laughs. The band did a limited number of shows during its life span. After a mini-LP they disbanded.
Recently reformed in their original line up, Dalton made two albums for EMI in the late 1980’s and enjoyed both radio and chart success. Formed by ex Treat drummer Mats Dahlberg, they embraced the colorful image of hair metal with extreme stage clothes, ridiculous amounts of hair spray and hook layered easily accessible rock anthems. Fronted by singer Bosse Lindmark, his brother Anders on bass, guitar player Leif Westfahl and keyboard player Ola Lindström, Dalton became one of the more successful bands of the era, competing with Treat and Europe. Hit singles were provided by both Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Bolton and they appeared on Swedish TV and in teen magazines. Extensive touring gave the band a big fan base, but as grunge rock took over, the band disintegrated in the early 90’s. Recently they opened for Scorpions and they are currently planning a new album.
Bad Business was founded in Lidköping, Sweden by ex-Nectaris vocalist The Flea (Stefan Larsson), guitarist Chris Crash (Christer Hjort), drummer Rich N Famous (Ola Lugner) and bass player TT Tonic (Dan Högberg), originally under the banner Bad Boys. They went all in on their stage names, inspired by their LA based counterparts. Their early live repertoire consisted of Nazareth, Sweet, BTO and Bad Company covers. Later on, their own songs stuck to the 70's style format. Bad Business debut album There's No Business Like... was recorded at EMI studios in Stockholm followed by a hard to find promotion EP Despite the group's distinctive, yet by that time outdated, 70’s brand of rock, the band did good business in Sweden. The guys are still kickin'.
Gothenburg based Alien is the most commercially successful rock band in this lot. They are, however, remembered primarily for their third single, the ballad Only One Woman, which was a massive hit in Sweden and abroad. Guitar Player Tony Borg recollects its climb on the charts in 1987. - They tried it out on Tracks, the important Swedish radio chart, but it didn’t enter. The instrumental flip side did well on another chart, though. We went to Los Angeles to record the album, and while we were there someone played the A-side again and it skyrocketed. We received faxes every week about the chart position... 18, 15... all the way to number 1! When we got back, every venue wanted to book us. We did 70-80 gigs that summer. The band started in 1985 with Tony, drummer Tobbe Tarrach, bass player Ken Sandin and keyboard player Jimmy Wandroph. Singer Jim Jidhed joined in ’86. Alien’s debut album was released worldwide and was especially successful in Japan. After a long hiatus, the classic line up of the band is now reformed and has performed on both Sweden Rock and UK festival Firefest where they received praise. - Jim just floored the audience. He laid out the tracks, all we had to do was to enjoy the ride!
Fronted by one of Sweden’s most respected drummers, Åke Eriksson from Wasa Express and Attack, Bedlam Eriksson made an attempt to join the hair metal movement without adopting its characteristic image. During their short life span, they only used the moniker Bedlam, but a name dispute forced them to add Åke’s last name. The band originated in Kalix, in the northernmost part of Sweden as Wildliv, and guitar players Thomas Jacobsson and Peter Karlsson and bass player/singer Bernt Ek were joined by Åke after their move to Stockholm. - We released a few singles on Virgin, says Åke, among them the Mud cover Tiger Feet which Virgin forced us to record. We finished an album for another label that went bankrupt before the release. The blow lead to the demise of the band. A few years ago, I located the original tapes in an old warehouse. The tapes were disintegrating and had to be baked in an oven to be saved.
Stockholm based Red Baron was officially formed in 1981 by ex-Heavy Load bass-player Eero Koivisto, drummer Michael Green, formerly in the first incarnation of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, and guitar player Henrik Larsson. They were soon joined by lead guitarist Mats Jonason and singer Lars Axelsson. Inspired by the NWOBHM bands like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden and classics like Rainbow, UFO, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions and Van Halen, the band quickly reached a fan base. In November that year they debuted at Sweden’s first Heavy Metal festival arranged by the radio station HMH, sharing the stage with Heavy Load, Stitch, Trilogy and Attack. The line up changed as singer Mats Melin took over. This version of the band recorded a few singles and demos in the next few years, and the debut album R’R Powerin 1987. Meanwhile, they built a reputation for their visual live shows which featured lots of pyrotechnics. In 1988 both Mats Melin and Eero Koivisto left and the band folded.
Other bands and artists available in the Swedish Metal Classics campaign includes: Swedish Erotica with Treat-drummer Jamie Borger and Yngwie Malmteen-vocalist Mats Levén. Talk Of The Town who had at hit with Free Like An Eagle and the solo album from their singer Thomas Vikström. Metal grinders Mustasch, fronted by Ralf Gyllenhammar. Alien-singer Jim Jidhed’s soft AOR solo effort and albums with Singer and Landlords. EMI is pleased to be able to bring this, in many cases forgotten music, to the attention of rock lovers everywhere.
The compilation album contains tracks from all re-issued albums in the campaign.
01. Lovely lisa - Clown - 1981
02. Howl in the sky (demo vers) - Biscaya - 1983
03. Fire breaks the dawn - Proud - 1984
04. Deal with the devil - Bedlam - 1985
05. Stealin my best friends woman - Bad business - 1986
06. Can’t stop loving you - Dalton - 1986
07. Gotta get away - Bedlam - 1986
08. Rock n roll power - Red baron - 1987
09. Livin for lovin - Talk of the town - 1988
10. We’re wild young and free - Swedish erotica - 1989
11. Touch my fire - Alien - 1989
12. Dangerous - Jim Jidhed - 1990
13. Into the fire - Thomas wikström - 1993
14. Liar - Landlords - 1994
15. 24 - Singer - 1996
16. Muddy waters - Mustasch - 2002
All albums included in the campaign:
01. Various Artists - Swedish Metal Classics - lost, hidden & forgotten
02. Clown - Clown
03. Biscaya - The Eternal Masterworks
04. Proud - Proud
05. Bedlam - Beauties And The Beast
06. Bad Business - No Business like...
07. Dalton - The Race Is On
08. Dalton - Injection
09. Red Baron - Rock n Roll Power
10. Red Baron - Rock The Highway
11. Talk Of The Town - Talk Of The Town
12. Swedish Erotica - Swedish Erotica
13. Alien - Alien
14. Alien - Alien (US-mix)
15. Alien - Shiftin’ Gear
16. Alien - Best And Rare
17. Jim Jidhed - Jim
18. Thomas Vikström - If I Could Fly
19. Landlords - Mentality
20. Singer - Fill In the Blanks
21. Mustasch - The True Sounds Of The New West
22. Mustasch - Above All
23. Mustasch - Ratsafari
24. Mustasch - Powerhouse