Sweden Rocks


STATE OF SALAZAR - All The Way (Review)

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Produced By: 
State Of Salazar
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Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
Frontiers Records
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Swedes do it again! What a great little melodic rock n pomp album this is. Filled to the brim with Swedish melodic goodness and bubbling over with uplifting harmonies and catchy choruses.
The band has an interesting sound. It’s hard to be original in this day and age, but these guys have their own swagger, that’s for sure.
What I’m hearing here is a mix of Swedish pop/rock and melodic rock with Styx influenced pomposity mixed in.
Vocalist Marcus Nygren is a real find. He wrote all the lyrics and music here and his vocals are the driving force behind the album.
Imagine some anthemic Mitch Malloy mixed with Toby Hitchcock and the smooth AOR of last year’s Find Me project. Add some 70s Styx pomp and some 80s Toto precision Westcoast and you might get close to State Of Salazar.
Whatever the sound, the songs are brilliant and draw you back in each time. Without repeating themselves, there’s one hit song after another.
I Believe In You is a happy go lucky pop rocker with a sweet vocal; Field Of Dreams sounds like the straight ahead melodic rock of Blanc Faces/Find Me; All The Way sounds like classic 70s Styx with an AOR chorus; while the ballad Love Of My Life could have come from any classic 80s rock soundtrack.
Elsewhere the melodic goodness of Eat Your Heart Out is pomp perfection; the immense Catastrophe is anything but, with the band showing depth with additional layers of strings; and Always is simply pop rock happiness.
Adrian is the band at their anthemic, layered pompous best and the ballad End Of Time is a relaxed way to close out a pretty energetic record.
A real find and destined to be one of the best debut albums of 2014. Packed with catchy hooks, glorious melodies and choruses at every turn.
If you enjoy anything out of Sweden and the lighter side of melodic rock, then these guys are an absolute must get.
Classy world-class production just tops off an all-round great record.

220 VOLT - Walking In Starlight (Showcase)

Friday, September 26, 2014
Walking In Starlight
Produced By: 
220 Volt
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
September 26
Hard Rock
Swedish hard rock act 220 Volt returns to the scene with a new album called “Walking In Starlight”. Anders Engberg (ex-Therion ex-Lions Share), who joined this group on late 2012, is the new voice of the band. This is his first full album with 220 Volt. Founding members Thomas Drevin and Mats Karlsson handle the guitars, and drummer Peter Hermansson completes the line-up.
220 Volt (founded 1979) was among the top hard rock acts in Scandinavia during the 80's and released their first, self titled album on CBS in June 1983. The band then went on to release five albums between 1983-1988. The last one recorded in the 80's was the album Eye to Eye which is their best selling album internationally, and it was also on heavy rotation on MTV and many radio stations around the world. It was produced by legendary producer Max Norman (Ozzy/Megadeth/Y&T etc..) and who also has mixed 5 tracks for “Walking In Starlight”.
The band’s reputation was built on frequent album releases and energetic live shows. Besides performing their own headline shows, the Swedes have also toured as support for AC/DC and Nazareth among others. In 1985, 220 Volt performed in front of 80.000 people in Warsaw, Poland. The show was broadcasted live on Polish TV, among the first ever TV-shows in the eastern block to feature a hard rock band.
220 Volt split up in 1992, but released the studio album Lethal Illusion in 1997.
The quartet was active for a while between 2002-2008 with members from an earlier line-up and produced two albums, “Volume 1” and the live album “Made in Jamtland”.
Songs like “Firefall”, “Love Is All You Need”, “Beat Of A Heart”, “The Harder They Come”, “Heavy X-mas” and “Power Games” to name a few, still get airplay around the world... Songs you'll be likely to hear live again soon!
Discography: 220 Volt (1983), Power Games (1984), Mind over muscle (1985), Young and wild (1987), Eye To Eye (1988), Lethal Illusion (1997), Volume 1 (2002), Made in Jamtland (2005), Heavy X-mas revisited (2009, EP), Walking In Starlight (2014)
::: style ::: Hard Rock
Anders Engberg – vocals
Thomas Drevin – guitars
Mats Karlsson – guitars
Peter Hermansson - drums

FREAK KITCHEN Announce 'Cooking With Pagans' For Release Sept. 16

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Swedish trio Freak Kitchen are back with Cooking with Pagans, their eight and most frantic album to date. The band has always been a tremendously respected live act and for the first time the energetic live vibe of Freak Kitchen has been captured in the studio. With influences stretching from AC/DC to classical South Indian music the three norsemen, lead by guitar virtuoso Mattias IA Eklundh, truly have a sound of their own.
Cooking with Pagans offer eleven intense original songs plus a sophisticated punk pop version of the 1936 hit Goody Goody like you never heard it before. Solid, inspired song writing (not to say playing) from start to finish.
Thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, bringing in almost $150,000, a very ambitious animated video, directed by legendary artist (and author of Blacksad) Juanjo Guarnido to the track Freak of the Week is in pain staking production by a world class team of animators. The video will premiere at Comic Con in New York in October.

Freak Kitchen will tour the world from November and the better part of 2015 to support their new release.

The band:
Mattias IA Eklundh, vocals, guitar
Christer Ortefors, bass, vocals
Bjorn Fryklund, drums


GRAND DESIGN - Thrill Of The Night (Showcase)

Friday, September 26, 2014
Thrill Of The Night
Produced By: 
Grand Desgn
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
September 26
Melodic Hard Rock
Grand Design was formed in 2006 by singer/producer Pelle Saether, and the band’s first 1st album “Time Elevation” was released by AOR Heaven in October 2009.  The album featured guest spots from guitarists Janne Stark and Tommy Denander. The release gained massive success and was awarded ‘best album’ and ‘best song’ by BeRockRadio and received numerous top 10 positions for “best album 2009”. Several concerts, including the prestigious FireFest in Nottingham, UK proved that Grand Design also deliver live. Pelle Saether comments: ”Since we all love Def Leppard, it will always be an influence we use to spice things up.”
Two years later, it was time for Grand Design’s second album – “Idolizer”.
Pelle says: “We knew we had found a formula to make an 80’s rock record work in the 21st century – so why change it?” With new anthems like “Get On With Action”, “OughtoGraph” and “Your Love’s A Runaway”, “Idolizer” followed up the fans expectations. Grand Design again proved that the songs and sound of 80’s rock belong in your players and on the big stages.
In 2012 the line-up saw singer Pelle Saether and guitarist Dennis Vestman, now flanked by guitarist Janne Stark (Constancia, Overdrive etc), bassist Mats Vassfjord (Chris Laney Band, Scaar) and drummer Peter Hermansson (Talisman, John Norum, 220 Volt). The band continued playing shows and festivals, building a solid following.

Early 2013 the band recorded two new songs, featuring guest singer Susie Päivärinta (of Lili & Susie), of which the song “Baby It’s You” (Promises cover) was released as a digital only single and video in June 2013. The band also welcomed new drummer Magnus Ulfstedt (Eclipse, Jimi Jamison, Talisman, Lion’s Share etc), who made his debut in the video. The band also performed at festivals such as Skogsröjet and Rock Out Wild.
Early 2014 Grand Design started working on the third album, and we are now proud to present the band’s third outing: Thrill Of The Night. This album has definitely taken the band to a whole new level, musically, song wise and regarding production. The band is packed with potential hits and choruses that you will wake up in the middle of the night singing! Sorry about that, but that’s how it is. From the opening chords of U Got Me Good, followed by the anthem rocker “Rawk ‘N’ Roll Heart Attack”, to up-tempo rocker “10 Outta 10” and the big epic balladry of “When The Greatest Love Of All Kicks In”. This time the band has also had some outside help in the song writing, where melodic rock icon Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T) has co-written the hit style “Who’s Gonna Rawk U Right” and “You’re The Only One”. The production, again by singer Pelle Saether, is big, ballsy yet ambient enough to probably make even John “Mutt” Lange proud.
Discography: Time Elevation (2009), Idolizer (2011), Thrill Of The Night (2014)
Pelle Saether: vocals
Dennis Vestman: guitar
Janne Stark: lead guitar
Mats Vassfjord: bass
Magnus Ulfstedt: drums

Swedish Melodic Rockers DALTON Return With “Pit Stop”

Friday, October 17, 2014
25 years later… Swedish Melodic Rockers DALTON return with “Pit Stop”! Out on Frontiers in October.
Swedish Melodic Rockers DALTON return after a 25 years break with their brand new album “Pit Stop” coming out on Frontiers Music Srl on October 17th in Europe and October 21st in North America.
Together with Europe and Treat, for a few years in the late 80’s, DALTON was a force to be reckoned with in Sweden. They enjoyed successful touring, teen media coverage, TV appearances and a string of radio hits. Even world stars such as Bon Jovi and Michael Bolton provided original songs to their two albums.
The band, formed by ex-Treat drummer Mats Dahlberg and named after his nickname, went all in with the current trends in melodic hair metal. Their image was cutting edge with designer outfits and enough hair spray every night to challenge the average user’s yearly consumption. The band was killed by grunge in the early 90´s, a destiny shared by many bands of the 80´s.
I left the band because I wanted a harder edge while the rest of the guys wanted to go softer”, Mats explains. He formed the short lived band Speedy Gonzales with guitarist Tommy Denander and Therion-singer Thomas Vikström, but the project folded before it took off. The rest of the Dalton members continued with a replacement drummer, but shortly called it a day. Dalton was left behind in the pit stop, dried out of gas.
25 years after their debut album “The Race Is On”, the original members came back with a vengeance and a reunion filmed for TV. “That’s how it started”, Mats explains. “A producer called me and asked if we would reunite and if they could film it for a documentary. I thought it was a joke”. “So did I”, Bosse laughs, “but it was true - and from the first rehearsal it was like time had stood still. It was so much fun!”
Old hits were polished to shine and the success at premiere gig when opening for THE SCORPIONS in Sweden in December 2012 was a fact. “That night back in December ignited the fuse, we all felt the same”, says Bosse – “let’s get the Dalton wheels in motion again. We want to celebrate the legacy of the 80’s rock scene by putting out a new album and take it on tour. Just like we did back in the days”.
Loaded with inspiration and dedication the band went through demos made for the never recorded third album along with some newly written songs. They ended up with 11 pure excellent tracks crafted for a 80’s flavored Melodic Rock album in a contemporary suit, recorded in good company with magic minded producer Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.).
A first shimmering taste of the songs from album was revealed at the Frontiers Rock Festival where the band premiered the track “Hey You” in front of an ecstatic crowd. DALTON is fueled up and back on the race track, ready to go – the race is on!
More samples from the album are available now via this link:
Pit Stop” will include the following tracks: Ready Or Not; Hey You; Don't Tell Me Lies; Follow Your Dreams; Up & Down; Bad Love; One Voice; Here We Are; Something For The Pain; 50/50; TGIF.
DALTON will also appear live on the Rockklassiker and Sweden Rock Festival boat cruise on October 10/12. More info:  http://www.tallinksilja.com/sv/web/se/rockbaten
Bo Lindmark - lead vocals
Mats Dahlberg - drums, backing vocals
Anders Lindmark - bass, backing vocals
Leif Westfahl - lead guitar, backing vocals
Ola Lindstrom - keyboards, backing vocals
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