Why?

With the Swedish Metal From The Past site a virtual ghost-ship and existing Encyclopedias not entirely complete, I see no other choice than for me to document the Swedish private HM/HR 7" scene to the best of my abilities. I really couldn't make 100+ proper reviews with all the info and specs, but these 'miniviews' should at least give you some idea of what's out there, what to look for and what to ignore.

What?

Unfortunately you won't find the godly EPs by MACABRE END, TREBLINKA, UTUMNO and the likes here. While the Swedish Death Metal scene emerging in the late 80's was very prolific and well worth and article of it's own, I consider it a separate scene and leave it to other, more informed parties to explore. The main focus is on classic 80's Heavy Metal, stretching from noncommercial, better melodic Hard Rock to Thrash. Some late 70's releases are included since I felt they were more at home in the spearing FirstWaveOfSwedishHeavyMetal-scene than the 70's Heavy Rock thing. Aberrations like AOR, 'westcoast', commercial 'hair rock' etc are of course excluded with extreme prejudice seeing as they have absolutely nothing to do with Heavy Metal.

<angry rant-mode>
If you came across this page with no clue to what The Corroseum is about and wonder where the hell all your favorite, Swedish commercial hard rock "classics" are, let me explain: It's my firm conviction that there's a difference between melodic Hard Rock/Metal and commercial ditto. Anyone with 2 ears + 1 brain should be able discern weather a band were out to make hard rockin' Metal music to save themselves from going insane, or just moneyhungry whores out for blowjobs & royalty checks by appealing to the lowest common denominator. If you for one second think that these bands even liked their own 'music' you're sadly deluded. I'm well aware that Heavy Metal is not Punk-Rock-we're-only-in-it-for-the-underground-cred-maahn-music, but in no other country has the 80's Metal scene gone so perverted solely because of ONE band (you know who - I've already namedropped them enough below) having a short but intense career by doing sweetened pop-rock for the masses. "Integrity" was hardly the buzz-word for the latter half of the Swedish 80's.

</angry rant-mode>

How many?

I'm a fan of nice, round numbers, so concentrating this article to the 101 most interesting releases felt like a good idea. There's still bound to be a few borderline releases included, but they will be weeded out as I acquire the few titles I'm still missing copies of (please help me out here!). Note that I'm not trying to sell you anything here. When the music is described as "Melodic Metal", "70's style HR" etc, it is just that, and not the pop music with distorted guitars or pub rock shite that less scrupulous ebayers or overenthusiastic, "open-minded" collectors might label Metal.

How few?

The rarity ratings should be taken with a pinch of salt, since the availability of these items may differ inside and outside the Swedish borders and will also change with time. You are more than welcomed to post your opinions/corrections here. The quality rating on the other hand is entirely scientific and should be revered with the utmost respect.

= Listenable, but barely worth mentioning.
= Not bad. Worth taping.
= Good shit - check it out!
= Great! A must for your collection.
= Totally Essential Metal Classic.

= Fairly common among better vinyl stores/sellers.
= Turns up on eBay or fairs occasionally. Not too pricey.
= Rare, but still not impossible to find.
= Very rare. Prepare to pay up or get really lucky.
= Seen once or twice or never in the last 5 years.

Where?

Here!


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ
(rejects)

220 VOLT - PRISONER OF WAR/SAURON 7'' 1982
In case you didn't know, this 7" is not one of the most coveted Swedish Metal items merely because the band released a bunch average, fairly successful LPs in the 80's. Nope, this jewel stand on its own merits as one of the heaviest and most powerful Swedish Metal releases ever. The galloping, early version of "Prisoner Of War" thrashes any HEAVY LOAD song both before and after, but the real treat here is the devastatingly heavy epic "Sauron", exclusive for this release to this day. We're talking total early MANOWAR/MANILLA ROAD Might here. Not in a million years would you take this for the same band who later produced schmallad filth like "Lorraine".
Rating: - Rarity:

ACHILLEUS - ALLT VI BEGÄR/ÖBERGS PRÄSTER 7" 82
Completist FWOSHM-collectors could definitely do a lot worse than checking out this prog/HM crossover thingie. "Allt Vi Begär" ("All We Ask") comes crammed with really aggressive Metal riffing seldom heard in a release this early, as well as really weak and poppy parts mandatory of the genre. Some of those quirky harmony-breaks are awesome though. "Öbergs Präster" ("The Priests of Öberg[?]") is more prog than hard rock, not entirely without some decent, heavier moments but hardly like the MANILLA ROAD or ANGEL WITCH-style bits on the A-side. Had the vocals not been so pissing weak and wimpy this could have been a quite remarkable new discovery.
Rating: - Rarity:

ACIS - LAWBREAKER/WANTED MAN 7'' 1987
"Lawbreaker" is a great, heavy singalong Hard Rock tune that DOESN'T flirt too much with the Eüröpe-clone wave of the time. Classic HM fans should not get deterred. Another nice surprise is that the B-side semi-ballad "Wanted Man" is high above the piss-poor average. There's some really fine heavy riffing at the end, giving the song some mildly epic qualities. Go fish.
Rating: - Rarity:

ADVENTURE - DESTINY 7'' 1985
While the A-side "Destiny" is a rather clumsy and inconspicuous hardrocker, the B-side "Wonder Why" offers some really outstanding riffing and great solos. Heavy riff-HR without one iota of hair-rock gayness. You could definitely do worse.
Rating: - Rarity:

AEON - MISSING GROUND 7'' 1991
Swedish Thrash Metal - what an oxymoron... Ah well, by the early 90's it seems most of the late 80's poserisms had faded away and some bands went looking for new ways to stay hopelessly 5 years behind. AEON made techno-thrash of a most unoriginal and uninspiring kind. "Missing Ground" is an orgy in chugging bay-area boredom, but at least the B-side "Under Silence" comes with some more interesting rhythms between the ultra-generic leads. Thank doG for small mercies. Playing and production is ok I guess. For rabid TESTAMENT-fans only.
Rating: - Rarity:

AIRBORNE - IN THE UNITED KINGDOM 7'' EP 1983
It seems this 3-song EP is a rather coveted FWOSHM-item and I can only guess it's because of the impressive song titles Unfortunately "Burn In Hell" haven't got much more to offer us than 3rd rate JUDAS PRIEST-riffs. The opening bars to "Lord Satan" is simply astounding, but then it's back to basic nonsense-riffing again. Not even the closing "Temple Of Metal" with it's regurgitated, bleak SAXON-leads does much to better the picture of this release. OK, so "In The UK" may not the most overrated of all FWOSHM-eps - at least you get 3 full Metal/HR songs for your cash - but they hardly belong in the top-20 league. The nasal & constipated vocals are fucking irritating too. Listen before you buy.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

AKILLES - PASSAWAY/TASTE OF BLOOD 7'' 1991
As far as semi-ballads go, AKILLES' "passaway" could be the best ever to turn up on a Swedish private 7". With it's great vocal harmonies and heavy lead it actually outshines the heavier "taste of blood" - which in turn isn't as heavy as the title would suggest. Soundwise both songs could be the melodic leftovers from J PRIEST's "Screaming For Vengeance", which is quite impressive considering the late release year. The cheesy, matrix-printer graphics it quite a turnoff though.
Rating: - Rarity:

AMBUSH - 4 TRACK EP 7'' EP 1984
Now here's a real hidden Swedish Metal treasure for sure. AMBUSH make a highly original blend of heavy, doomy Metal, moody & esoteric hard rock like ASHBURY, WIDOW (UK) etc and 70's folksy HR a la JETHRO TULL. The fiercely captivating and original chorus to "Run Like Hell" could itself make the EP a certain buy, but then you have the excellent doomster "Holy Ruler", the woeful, melodic "Whole Man Again" and a surprisingly good ballad closer in "Spirit Of A Fool" still waiting for you. I'm desperately searching for a copy (digital or original) of their full-length tape from '85, so all help is appreciated.
Rating: - Rarity:

ARROW - THE ONLY WAY/BETTER RUN 7" 1984
Mostly known for their collectable "Diary Of A Soldier" MLP from 2 years later, this debut release outshines the 12" with not 1 (like on the MLP) but 2 melodic Metal cuts good enough for anyone with an interest in rare FWOSHM and 8 minutes to spare. "Better Run" has the upper hand with a pretty catchy chorus. U dig MINDLESS SINNER, PARASITE, TORCH etc - U dig this.
Rating: - Rarity:

ARROWS - WOUNDED IN LOVE/I WANT TO GIVE YOU ROCK'N'ROLL 7'' 1981
Judging from the barely broken voice of the vocalist, the somewhat corny lyrics and overall performance we're dealing with a very young band here. This is however a perfect example of how a band has taken this supposed weakness and used it to their advantage. This rawks! Both songs are great, crank-it-to-11, raw & juvenile Hard Rock and there's really not anything you'd wanna change on this EP. A 3rd, more metallic song would have upped their rating to a 4 though.
Rating: - Rarity:

ARROWZ - BIRD OF STEEL/HELP ME 7'' 1982
A quite unremarkable hard rock single which for some unknown reason still turns up on plenty of want lists. Substandard rocker "Help Me" is paired with the semi-epic, semi-ballad, semi-decent "Bird Of Steel". Beware of nasal vocals.
Rating: - Rarity:

BEHEMOTH - DEATHWINGS 7'' 1982
A true classic. It's hard to pick a favorite track here when both songs are such perfect examples of heavy, driving, 1st wave Metal. "Deathwings" is fast and energetic with roaring guitars that just won't stop. The slower, darker "Vengeance" comes chock-full of ANGEL WITCH/HELL-like menacing riffing and a chorus that wants you to go out in the moonlight and slay dragons & posers until daybreak. It's everything you ever wanted in a rare NWOBHM gem, only it's from Sweden. They also have a number of ultra-heavy demo recordings on their conscience, but so far no decent sounding copies have turned up. Help!
Rating: - Rarity:
(2 for the red/w ed.)

CALIGULA - SO FINE/MUST GET OUT 7'' 1991
Well, it comes with a really neat, full-color warrior cover and all, but musically it's far too MÖTLEY CRÜEish to be taken seriously. "Must Get Out" is more metallic and has some pretty heavy leads but songwise it just doesn't cut it. Disappointing.
Rating: - Rarity:

CARTAGO - HOLD ON TO YOUR LOVE/WAIT FOR THE DREAMERS 7'' 1990
Barely worth mentioning, and only so thanx to a rather upbeat B-side sounding somewhat like RISING FORCE or SILVER MOUNTAIN - you know, the typical "talented melodic metal"-crap. OK, it's not crap, it's better than a lot of the commercial tripe I've had to wade through when researching for this list, but compared to the excellent, mid-80's demo track I got off some radio show it's pretty superfluous. Their debut 7" from 10 years earlier is awful poppy rock/HR and should be avoided at all costs.
Rating: - Rarity:

CHIRON - DON'T LOOSE YOUR FAITH/EYES OF STEEL 7'' 1986
Until recently this band was only known (well..) for a more commercial 7" released in '89. While this debut might not be the heaviest of the heavy, it's still not as wimpy as the major part of the Swedish hard rock releases of this year. "Eyes of Steel" is a simple but charming piece of d.i.y melodic Metal. OK, so it scores some extra points on just being pissing rare and practically unknown, but wtf..
Rating: - Rarity:

CRYSTAL PRIDE - S/T 7'' EP 1983
Possibly the best FWOSHM EP ever. Read a full review here.
Rating: - Rarity:

DEPZON - FLYING ON THE SUNDOWN/LOST IN THE FOREST 7'' 1985
Good, solid Metal for less demanding metalheads. Both songs wander in the familiar 80's footsteps of classic bands like MAIDEN, PRIEST, HEAVY LOAD and whatnot. Comes with a great, heavy guitar sound, that unfortunately is slightly out of tune. Were it not for this little fuck-up I might have shared certain other individual's constant praise of this typical 3-out-of-5'er.
Rating: - Rarity:

DEVELOP - HEJ VILL DU/SÄG MIG 7'' 81
Despite the promises of good NWOBHM-like contents from the 2nd volume of the Swedish HR/HM Encyclopedia, this turned out to be a slight disappointment. The mellow, poppy hard rock of "Hej Vill Du" ("hi do you wanna..") is not my idea of a good time to spend my valuable 3 minutes. Luckily "Säg Mig" ("tell me")is heavier and pretty decent metalrock, but who's got time for "decent" these days?
Rating: - Rarity:

DIAVOX - ANGEL EYE/BLACK HEART 7" 83
A rather anonymous, sleeveless Pang Rec. 7" which took a few spins for me to enjoy. "Angel Eye" is pretty upbeat, typical early 80's HR/HM reminding me of Ozzy's "Crazy Train" while B-side "Black Heart" is more energetic. Call me a pretentious art-phag but a picture sleeve would have enhanced the experience substantially.
Rating: - Rarity:

DREAM - LOVELY RAIN/CATCH THE LIFELINE 7'' 1979
Pretty fucking perfect, catchy and melodic Hard Rock totally devoid of commercial aor-schmalz - how rare is that? The chorus to "Lovely Rain" will stick in yer head for days and days and days and days, and the slower yet heavy flipside ain't exactly ka-ka either. High-class musicianship, superb vocals and good production are only frosting on this very tasty croissant of rock. They also had an outstanding track on the local compilation "Musik I Skellefteň 2" in '82. Too bad we will never ever find originals of any of these releases lest it rainest refrigerators in hell.
Rating: - Rarity:

E.F. BAND - NIGHT ANGEL/ANOTHER DAY GONE 7" 1979
Inconspicuous 70's Heavy, very Purple-influenced but thankfully without the hammond organ. The boogie rock of "Another Day Gone" is hardly a promise of greater things to come. Let's give 'em another try.
Rating: - Rarity:

E.F. BAND - SELF MADE SUICIDE/SISTER SYNE 7" 1980
Here we see this Swedish/British (Switish?) co-op slowly taking its first steps into what was later to be labeled 'prime-era NWOBHM'. "Self Made Suicide" sound like a modernized version of their debut 7" A side, i.e. still very 70's sounding but with some extra, early 80's bite to it. Listening to the heavy "Sister Syne" it's obvious that a beefier, more dynamic production would have done both songs more justice.
R
ating: - Rarity:

E.F. BAND - DEVIL'S EYE/COMPRENDE 7" 1980
Now we're getting somewhere! While they never got as outstandingly brilliant as their "Metal For Muthas" contribution, this is still a great piece of early Metal to look out for, mostly thanx to the ultra-heavy instrumental "Comprende", one of E.F. BAND's finest moments I'd say. The A side Hard Rock standard also stand proud among it's competitors. There's more goodies to be found on their 2 first, easy-to-locate albums, so don't let this mucho underrated band pass you by.
Rating: - Rarity:
(1 - Mercury pressing)

EXCITERS - MY BAD STARS/METAL MAN 7'' 1983
There's really not that much to get excited about here. EXCITERS play the kind of amateurish, substandard Metal/HR that gave the Pang Records label it's bad name. The songs may be long and full of riffs and stuff and this and that, but the headbanging just don't wanna kick off if you know what I mean. "Metal Man" is the better of the 2 tracks, with one or two cool parts, but there's just too much debris in there that avert the attention from the pretty mean chorus. Should you however find a copy with a picture sleeve you should get down on your knees and thank your deity of choice for his/her mercy bestowed upon you.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

FAITH - HYMN OF THE SINNER 7'' 1986
Superb Epic Doom Metal which you can read a longer review of here.
Rating: - Rarity:

FLAME - NO ROAD TO HEAVEN/LONE WOLF SONG 7'' 1982
The first thing that struck me when hearing FLAME is how the vocalist sound so much like SPARKS' Russell Mael I couldn't help but laugh. Luckily I'm a huge SPARKS fan, so no complaints here. "No Road To Heaven" is a growing piece of pomp HR pretty similar to Brits SARACEN's more straightforward moments. There's plenty of keyboards involved, but it comes with the overall style, so I'll rest my veto this time around. "Lone Wolf Song" is more lightweight DEEP PURPLE and a pretty sucky song at that. Qualitywise, and as far as Pang Records singles go, this one lands somewhere in the middle.
Rating: - Rarity:

GOTHAM CITY - GOTHAM CITY/KILLER ANGELS 7'' 1982
I just can't write anything smart or clever about the theme song of this the best FWOSHM band ever. It's too perfect. So, the vocals may be even more expressionless than on their outstanding debut 12", but apart from that everything about this song is very very much greater than great; the riffing, the chorus, the way it goes totally epic in the 2nd half of the song and that incredible singalong part at the end - everything is just bloody flawless. Anyone who calls himself a Metal fan and claims he doesn't like this song can go fuck themselves. Really. No joke here. Just fuck off. On the other hand I might not share certain other GC fans' fascination with the B side. It's good solid HM, but no top-10 material compared to all the other masterpieces this band has produced. Is it perhaps my turn to fuck off now?
Rating: - Rarity:

GRAVE - SCREAMING FROM THE GRAVE/DREAMER 7'' 1983
If it weren't for the fact that the man is rumored to still be alive, I'd have guessed it was Ronnie James Dio screaming from the grave in question. Not as much because of the vocal style as the music, which is heavily Dio-inspired. We're talking about the fastest, most metallic parts of Dio's career here, so the brilliant "Screaming.." will surely impress all fans of proud early 80's Metal - keys or no keys. If only the B-side hadn't felt so much like a commercial cop-out I'd proclaim it a classic. Now you don't really know what to make of the band as a whole.
Rating: - Rarity:

HEAD FORCE - LOVE HEART/TAKE COVER 7'' 1987
For having such an incredibly silly title, "Love Heart" is a positive surprise. A grrrreat guitar sound coupled with a pretty generic yet tasty lead is just enough to commence the banging of this particular metalhead on a better day. Kudos for burying the keys really low in the mix too, guys! "Take Cover" comes with more of that simple yet heavy riffing, this time on horseback. A double-A-side curiosity well worth looking for.
Rating: - Rarity:

HELIUM HEAD - IN THE SKY/TAKE ME HOME 7'' 1982
This really isn't as amateurish as you'd expect from a seldom mentioned Pang-band with a punk-sounding name. It surely is well written, competent, early 80's HR/NWOHM, but the rock'n'roll bits takes up too much space in my opinion, especially on the B-side, which reminds me of the least exciting parts of KISS c:a '75. Forgettable.
Rating: - Rarity:

HELS - BIRTH/DEATH 7'' 1985
All Hail DOOOOM And All Things Doooomy And Such! "Birth" may not be the slowest of the slow, but as a whole HELS are easily categorized as 80's Doom Metal, quite similar to contemporaries NEMESIS or MERCY. "Death" on the other hand is slow Doom in its most true form, with some nifty touches of M FATE thrown in for good measure. The only thing that makes them less than Totally Essential is that the songs themselves aren't that memorable. Songwise I prefer their 2 contributions on the "Klipp-Rock" compilation from 2 years later, even if their style had shifted to more traditional HM by then. There's however no reason why this shouldn't be on the want lists of all classic Doom fans.
Rating: - Rarity:

HIGHBROW - ROCK ON 7'' 1978
Don't believe the hype. They may have had HEAVY LOAD-vocalist Eddy Malm on vocals on this debut 7", but mere name dropping just doesn't cut it when it comes to Metal. Qualitywise it may not be crap, but musicwise this belongs in the late 70's hard rock category with too many feel-good boogie vibes for the average Metalfanatic to handle. B-side "Roumers" (sic) is the better one of the 2 featured tracks - a pretty listenable piece despite being shamelessly mellow. The 2nd 7" from 1980 is aor and therefor completely off-topic.
Rating: - Rarity:

HIROSHIMA - SOLDIER OF THE WORLD/NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE 7'' 1983
In '84 they released one of the most underrated Swedish Metal LPs ever, "Taste Of Death". Of course the mandatory, private & über-rare debut single should slay and indeed it does. The ominous countdown intro intermingles perfectly with the first beautiful bars if this rawer, premiere recording of the song and it really isn't until you hear this version that you realize what a fucking phenomenal, atmospheric piece it is. "Nuclear Nightmare" is less instant, but full of dark, metallic energy and who doesn't want an extra exclusive song to add to the meager HIROSHIMA-discography anyway?
Rating: - Rarity:

HOROSCOPE - COME TO ME/GRYNINGEN 7'' 1979
HOROSCOPE was the late Andrija Veljaca's first band before he teamed up with the TURBO-guys to form MERCY. Not to speak ill of the dead, but the lyrics/vocals to "Gryningen" ("The Dawn") is fucking hilarious. If you know Swedish that is. I'm not gonna ruin your impression of the man, so there will not be a translation here. Instead I'll just inform you that this single contains 2 heavy, riff-driven hardrockers straight outta some suburb garage. Rather charming in all its minimalist, amateurish glory but there sure is better releases from this era to look out for.
Rating: - Rarity:

INZIGHT - LAY DOWN, STAY DOWN/WE ARE GONNA BE IN TOWN TONIGHT 7'' 1989
Heavier than we're used to from a release this late but not exactly riveting Power Metal if you know what I mean. Driving rockmetal with a slight Guns&Stadiums-feel, yet still with one foot out of the sleaze mudpit. Christer Åsell from the demo/7" days of 220 VOLT handled the vocals and apparently did a better job then than he's doing now with the reincarnation of 220V. Or so I've been told.
Rating: - Rarity:

JACKWAVE - KING OF THE SEA/I'LL BE THERE 7'' 1986
One of the heavier Platina releases and surely one of the better ones. "King of the Sea" is upbeat, straightforward Metal with a pleasant singalong chorus, reminding me of some old Swedish pop/punk song I can't remember the title of, thank doG, Nothing incredibly remarkable, but still a perky thumbs-up piece of Swedish Steel. So far they unfortunately fall in the one-hit-wonder category since no demos have emerged and the B-side is an unhappening semi-ballad filler.
Rating: - Rarity:

JEREMIAH - ROCK Å STRUL 7'' 1980
Great proto-FWOSHM is what we get from JEREMIAH's seldom mentioned 7". A-side "Bluff-Stop" (um, some game of cards I really don't know how to translate) is an intriguing track in that it manages to be both traditional Heavy Hard Rock and still quite original with it's steady, driving beat and excellent leads. "Lost in Lund" continues with more heavy, metallic riffs albeit a tad to mellow on the chorus. All in all a very charming piece of early Swedish Hard Rock history.
Rating: - Rarity:

KEEN HUE - ONE OF TWO/SPREAD YOUR WINGS OF FIRE 7'' 1982
Without a doubt one of the best, most talented and professional releases of the Pang label ...but who gives a fuck about 'talent' and 'professionalism' really? What matters is the fact that both songs are outstanding examples of classic, 1st rate NewWhaveOfWherever-Metal. Åke's vocals may sport some tonal imperfections on the bridge of "One Of Two", but it matters little in the greater schemes of things. Heavy, energetic, clever and brilliant song writing all the way. 'Nuff said really.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

LAYOUT - WASTED LOVE/FIGHT BACK 7'' 1987
High-class melodic Metal with great fem vox and, since it's featured in this article, not much of that vile, commercial gunk that ruined the major part of its contemporaries. Believe it or not, but neither of the songs are a ballad! Yup, just 2 great-yet-not-totally-amazing HM songs well worth a few extra months of tradelist googling and/or eBay surfin'.
Rating: - Rarity:

LEZLIE PAICE - FIGHTING MAN 7'' 1983
Woooooaaaahh!! Check out that awesome artwork! How can a 7" not rock with a sleeve like that? Yes, it's heavy all right. The guitar sound is awesome. Slightly donwtuned and really fucking mean. The lead-heavy, pounding "Fighting Man" is impressive at first listening, but once you get over the initial awe of said guitars you realize that there really isn't much to the song itself. The silly, happy-go-lucky pop-chorus of "People Wanna Know" is kinda amusing, but it so happens that amusement is not my main goal when playing Metal music, so no extra stars there, guys. Overall it's rather amateurish stuff, with weak, 'Swenglish' vocals. Such a pity...
Rating: - Rarity:

LONELY HEARTS - LONELY HEART/ONE MORE NIGHT 7'' 1984
Behind this godawful band name and song title lurks a great Heavy Metal standard bound to bring smiles and good fortune to all fans of the classic PRIEST/SAXON/SCORPIONS sound. Unfortunately the flip is another weak attempt at radio-friendly, singalong, clap-your-hands, blow-me-after-the-show-baby balladism :(
Rating: - Rarity:

MANIAC - (GRIEF) BEAUTY QUEEN/TAKE IT AWAY 7'' 1985
There's something special going on here. I can't quite put my finger on it, maybe it's ...talent? MANIAC clearly had the X-factor to bring them above the average mid-80's melodic Metal produced in Sweden. After a sloppy piano intro going on a bit too long for comfort we're presented with very competent, driving melodic HM, boosted with a more than competent chorus. "Beauty Queen" grows with every listening and while "Take It Awake" isn't quite as special it's still a heavy enough companion to the A-side hit. No, I can't go on praising this 7" too much. It would only diminish the possibilities of myself scoring a copy in the future.
Rating: - Rarity:

MANINNYA BLADE - THE BARBARIAN/RIPPER ATTACK 7'' 1984
With the possible exception of a certain discolored farmyard animal, this single counts as the first ever Thrash Metal vinyl release in Sweden. That alone deserves some credit, considering the pretty much stone dead Thrash climate of our country back in the days. However, I wouldn't have given this a full 5-sword rating if weren't for the fact that "The Barbarian" is a fucking rabid, reptilian beast of a song! UNboring mid-pace crunchy Thrash meets proud Viking-Metal in a seldom heard marriage of perfection! The Speed/Power Metal of "Ripper Attack" is perhaps not as memorable, but it does an ample job of matching the weight of the A-side. And yes, this EP does indeed slay their rather average LP from '86.
Rating: - Rarity:

MARCUS BRUTUS BAND - STAND BACK/PICTURES OF MY MIND 7'' 1983
One of the rarest Pang releases but hardly one of better ones. "Stand Back" has a pretty good harmony solo somewhere in the middle going for it, but apart from that it shouldn't inspire any big spending from the average collector, even if the guitars sound really heavy and all. The B-side is an original piece. Not all-out weird, but it's got these oozing aaah's and breaks and stuff, making it sound like some clever 70's hard rock. They should have concentrated on getting the riffing right instead.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

N.J.B. (NIGHT JAMMING BAND) - SOLDIER OF LOVE/RUN AWAY 7'' 1986
While their full-length LP counts as one of the rarest Swedish HM/HR 12" releases together with SAVAGERS, DETEST and labelmates BOOM SHANKER GROUP, this their debut single is slightly easier to locate. And well worth the trouble I might add, since the LP versions of the tracks comes with the trademark Büms Records 'quality'. OK, so the A side might lean a bit too far in the mellow, radio-friendly direction, but B-side "Run Away" belongs in the absolute top-league of Swedish melodic Metal. The chorus is a feast in shameless catchiness bound to bring all skeptics to their knees. Trust me, you'll like it too.
Rating: - Rarity:

NAGAZAKI - YOU CAN BE/NOBODY 7'' 1986
I can't quite make up my mind about NAGAZAKI. At one hand they're pretty heavy, classic Metal in the old RIOT or TRESPASS-tradition, on the other hand they're really mellow and 'uppety', kinda like THIN LIZZY in a sunshine mood. While they were definitely a very talented band that deserved going on to greater things, I'm just not sure if I would have joined their fan club.
Rating: - Rarity:

NATTSVART - VARGARNA/DRAKENS ÖGA 7'' 1982
Even I made the mistake once of letting this 7" pass me by in the belief that it was just another lame pop/new wave band. Why shouldn't we? It comes cluttered with random letters known as that muppet-language 'Swedish' and how Metal is that? Inte mycket. Well, if we do a little creative translation we instead come up with: BLACK AS NIGHT - THE WOLVES/EYE OF THE DRAGON 7" 1982. Did that catch your attention? Good, coz this is really ravaging Metal, faster and harder than most from this year and while the song compositions might not be the most advanced there's enough dark energy here to thrash your living room many times over. Another exotic curiosity to misspell for your want list.
Rating: - Rarity:

ONYX - S/T 7'' EP 1982
A simply superb and very early example of REAL Swedish Heavy Metal that I wrote a longer review of ages ago.
Rating: - Rarity:

PARADIZE - CARESS OF STEEL/COMING HOME 7'' 1980
Mr. Stark must excuse me, but in my opinion this single overshadows anything by his/their later OVERDRIVE incarnation, at least as far as songwriting goes. Even while drenched in loud keyboards, "Caress of Steel" is still a magnificent, pompish Hard Rock tune. The slower, heavier "Coming Home" is just about as outstanding with a solid 70's oozing lead. The shoddy cover art and juvenile vocals may give an amateurish first impression, but after a few spins you'll be able to put such irrelevant issues aside and fully enjoy this little gem.
Rating: - Rarity:

PUBLIKFÖRAKT AB - THE NIGHT OF HORROR 7'' 1982
I know some have tried to pigeonhole PUBLIKFÖRAKT AB (AUDIENCE CONTEMPT INC.) as punk, but I'm pretty sure that upon hearing the 3rd rate JUDAS PRIEST-leftoves of "Young Rebel", any devoted, old-school punk fan would frown upon this and shout "fuckin' lame metal, man!". And rightly so. The A-side "Night of Horror" is harder to categorize. It sounds like a typical first-ever-written song of a young band who liked their rock hard, but didn't quite know on which leg to stand on. Thankfully the harmony soloing at the end will attract the hardrockers just as fast as the punks will run in the other direction.
Rating: - Rarity:
(2 without p/s)

QUINZY - ROSIE/BOOGIE 7'' 1980
There must have been hundreds of band around this time period playing weak and watered down boogie rock to their close circle or friends down at the pub on Wednesday nights. Logic dictates that some bands had to be considerably heavier than others, and some of them heavy and raw enough to be pushed into the perimeters of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. Thereabout is where we find QUINZY. The opening bars to "Rosie" sound pretty darn metallic, then it deteriorates into a ballad with some heavier bridges and breaks. Nothing overly exciting. "Boogie" is (surprise surprise) boogie rock, but it's a really fast and raw piece and you got to give them some credit for not playing it too safe. 2 years later they turned up on the "Made in GBG" compilation with 2 lame, pop/rock songs so this story ended in tears.
Rating: - Rarity:

QUIX - S/T 7'' EP 1981
"Speed" is a promising opener on this early 4-tracker, sounding like sloppy RAVEN or SLEDGEHAMMER, boosted by neat wah-wah bass and fuzzed out guitars. From thereon it's all downhill. If they'd just stuck with the standard 2-song format, possibly with the tolerable, supergeneric heavy rocker "Let me go with you" as the B-side, QUIX could have produced something of a cult classic, but since "It will be all right." and "Please don't go" are such fucking awful, derisive trash, they totally ruin the feel of this their one and only shot at FWOSHM immortality.
Rating: - Rarity:

R & R - ADVENTURES BEHIND THE EYE/THE WAY OF EVIL 7'' 1983
A bit of an oddball, this one. Not musically though. R & R is melodic Scandinavian Metal straight from the blueprints, with the heavier "The Way of Evil" being the pick of the pair metalwise. There's some curious start-stop parts and slightly unconventional twists and turns, but still performed in a very coherent hard rock manner. The oddity lies in everything else, the weird band name, the unmetallic layout (note the accordion!) and most of all the primitive, fuzzy production and mix. Sounds like the studio engineer was more into lo-fi post punk than any sort of headbanging material, something that R & R's career must have suffered for in the end.
Rating: - Rarity:

RAVING MAD - A DAZZLING DISPLAY 7'' 1987
With such a microscopic Thrash scene as the one we had in the 80's I guess beggars can't be choosers, right? Well, RAVING MAD certainly weren't bad. If you're into early MEGADETH and the Bay Area sound I guess you'll be into the A-side of this bands debut 7" too. The real treat here on the other hand is the excellent Power Metal flipside "Cryin'", mixing METAL CHURCH style riffing with a superb, catchy chorus worthy of the most overhyped of US Metal concoctions. Too bad the generic title track proved to be the most representative of the bands overall sound, judging from their later material.
Rating: - Rarity:

RAZORBLADE - RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/READY TO FIGHT 7'' 1985
Until a few years ago this was a totally unknown release, until a band member started unloading a box of copies that had been collecting dust in his closet for close to 20 years. Last I heard they were all gone, so don't come bugging me for details, OK? Content: Low-rate, unoriginal Metal from junior high school kids. No magic here. No lost epic masterpieces, no incredible riffing the world forgot, no esoteric band history of cults and suicide pacts, just 2 underproduced, poorly executed Metal standards with weak vocals. ACCEPT and IRON MAIDEN were obviously major influences so if you, like me, got a weak spot for this particular sound I'd say they're still worth a listen. But just barely so.
Rating: - Rarity:

RED BARON - ROCK THE HIGHWAY/FOOL'S GOLD 7'' 1985
This their first indie release comes with that extra kick of energy and youthfulness that is very much needed when you're set on conquering the world with plainer than plain Hard Rock music. No, not the barrage of power chords and unforgettable songwriting one would prefer, but at least they played it like they meant it. Subsequent major label releases (one 7" + one MLP) felt a notch too slick and conformist for me to waste bits on.
Rating: - Rarity:

REGENT - LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS/CHANGES 7'' 1984
I was under the distinct impression that the band MADISON were totally gay on all fronts. Turns out they had the good taste of releasing a private 7" under a different name before traveling down the path to that special place in hell where all weak Eüröpe-clones now burns in incredible agony forever. OK, so they do sound a bit like EUROPE here too, but the early, slightly heavier period before they ruined the Swedish Metal scene for generations. B-side = ballad. Be sure to scratch it good with a razor so you won't put it on by mistake, should you ever acquire a copy.
Rating: - Rarity:

REMO - CALLING OUT FOR YOU/TAKE ME HOME 7'' 1987
"Well-played", "well-produced" and "well-written" hard rock. And pretty fucking boring too, despite the loud, larger-than-life attitude. Apparently they also had a very rare 12" out one year later but I don't care. I hope their black leather jackets got stolen after the photo-shoot.
Rating: - Rarity:

RENEGADE - ROCK 'TIL YOU DIE 7'' EP 1982
Man was I happy to stumble across this one. While their more common '86 EP was commercial garbage, the lesser know and bloody rare debut EP is another story entirely. RENEGADE obviously liked NWOBHM back then and we still do. A-side "Beautiful People" may be an AC/DC-influenced, mediocre hardrocker, but turn it over and we're in NWOBHM-heaven (or at least the fancier parts of limbo) with "Killer in the Sky", a really cool cut for lovers of bands like GRIM REAPER, early TOKYO BLADE and so forth. After sitting through the 35 seconds acoustic fluff of "Leviticus" there's more of that tasty British-sounding steel for us in the closing title track "Rock 'til You Die". Hearing this you almost want to believe them, but then you have that limpwristed later EP working as evidence against them. Liars!
Rating: - Rarity:

REVENGE - LIGHT A LIGHT/WANT YOU BACK 7'' 88
Gothic letter logo and flying V guitar on cheap b/w sleeve should be a good sign, right? Ahem, well... "Light A Light" is a simply awful schmallad and once again I wonder what kind of a deranged mind ever came up with the idea that a ballad would be a great introduction to a new band? Twat! At least "Want You Back" is a real song, sounding pretty promising until the awful pop chorus takes a crap in your ear canal. Don't be fooled.
Rating: - Rarity:

RISING - METAL BIRD/SHE'S GOT BRIGHT EYES 7'' 1982
Kick-ass NWOBHM-oozing stuff and a perfect match with that killer sleeve. "Metal Bird" has all the characteristics of a Heavy Metal classic: speedy, hectic riffing, raw guitars and wooh-oh'ing chorus. The B-side could have been another ballad train wreck with such a title, but no siree, not this time around. Not as instant as side A, this chugging, uptempo piece proves that RISING belonged with the good guys.
Rating: - Rarity:

ROTEROCK - GE OCH TA/WITH OR WITHOUT YOU 7'' 1979
An extremely rare, early oddity in Swedish Hard Rock. "Ge Och Ta" ("Give And Take") is a great, catchy rocker in the THIN LIZZY-vein, almost popish without wimping out or loosing weight. The twin guitars do the trick. The slower flipside should be unlistenable with that reggae drum beat, but in some weird way it still works, mostly thanx to a pretty nifty chorus and the absence of those new wave-style sounds so often accompanied by them rubba-dub-dubbings.
(There - eradicated this baby from all future HR/HM want lists simply by mentioning the P and R-words. Kinda sad really...)
Rating: - Rarity:

SACRED NIGHT - 'DEMO'-LISHAN PROJECT 7'' EP 1993
In a time when every Swedish metalhead and his dog played unoriginal, overrated Death Metal, SACRED NIGHT decided to release a private 7" of classic style Metal. This makes them worthy of mucho kudos of course, but don't get all excited just yet coz "Demo-lishan Project" is still a disappointment. There's really not one memorable second of music on here and I can honestly say I wouldn't have been any more forgiving had it come out in '83 and not '93. The MAIDEN-influence is very obvious, but sadly performed in an extremely amateurish and watered down way. "Freeman" could have been great with more energetic, more enthusiastic musicians, but SACRED NIGHT played it like their mommys forced them to do it.
Rating: - Rarity:

SACRIFICE - STREET FIGHTER/INNOCENT VICTIM 7" 1985
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this is the ultimate Swedish Metal 7" want list topper. I think it boils down to the fact that it became an 'official collector's item' relatively early and is now often seen on many old collector's all-time faves lists. It seems like every last copy sailed off to Japan, Germany or USA long ago, coz in the last 5 years I can't say I've ever seen it offered anywhere. So is it really that good? Hm, well, it's certainly very classy/classic Scanda-Metal in the same style and league as PROUD, SADWINGS and HIROSHIMA. Neither of the 2 songs are however a match for the bestest pieces of those bands, or the killer "You Better Run" from their METAL MUTHAS demo days. To deserve all that hype a 3-track EP with that last one would have been preferred.
Rating: - Rarity:

SAVAGE SKÜLLS - LOST BUT NEVER FOUND/THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY 7'' 91
Is that some new, hip line of clothing nowadays? I can hardly imagine the brats I see down town wearing Savage Skulls-logos on their satin jackets to be long lost members of these Piteå-thrasher's fan club. 'Tis been written that this band was supposed to be Doom Metal, so naturally I searched long and hard for this single before a muddy CDR-copy turned up on my doorstep. OK, it's really heavy and mean stuff, but hardly Doom. I'm having trouble coming over my initial disappointment with this, so I cannot fully enjoy they rather competent, mid-paced chugging, despite the decent riffing and all. Megadeth-fans can keep an eye open, I'm off to play my FAITH-demos one more time before nap time.
Rating: - Rarity:

SCAMPS - LOVE TODAY, HATE TOMORROW/CRYSTAL NIGHT 7'' 1985
The titles say it all really. A more commercial HR A-side topped by an excellent piece of melodic, proud Metal on the flip. Very Maidenesque and yummy and such, but which side represented their true colors? No demos are known, so file under 'headscratchers'.
Rating: - Rarity:

SCRATCH - BEFORE THE RAIN/METAL BREAKER 7'' 1985
10 years ago you might have been able to track down a copy of this 7", but since then a certain collector-mistake seem to have totally eradicated it from the face of the earth. You see, for many years this single was thought to be of British origin, resulting in it being completely engulfed by the manic NWOBHM-collector fringe. And do you think these greedy bastards now acknowledge their mistake and willingly return this baby to its country of origin and its starving collectors? Ha! OK, I can't really blame them. This is great, classic Metal and indeed very British-sounding. Even the semi-ballad A-side is more than merely listenable.
Rating: - Rarity:

SERGEANT - DOUBT/CONNECTION 7'' 1982
"Doubt" is a very unique, very melancholic piece of early melodic HR. Pretty classy musicianship and songwriting skills here, definitely a grower and very far from happy-go-lucky gAy.O.R. It's however the B-side "Connection" that truly impress. We're talking top-class, total NWOBHM-style HM/HR in the style of classics like TRESPASS, GEDDES AXE, ANGEL WITCH etc with some superb harmony soloing at the end. Vocalist Lars Hägglund is a deadringer for Kevin Heybourne and after a few listenings I've come to notice how the song ("Connection") actually reminds me of AW's "Hades Paradise" at times. Highly recommended!
Rating: - Rarity:

SHAKESPEARE - ORPHAN DEVIL/SNEAKING AROUND 7'' 1983
Rather atypical Swedish Metal this, sounding a lot like early M FATE or ANGEL WITCH. What keeps them from reaching the greatness of, lets say, BEHEMOTH is the constipated vocals of Piotr Jastrzebski which drags the whole band down to an undeserving, amateurish level. I'm still very thankful for every second of Swedish steel this heavy, so of course I cannot un-recommend it. I could have done without the terribly out-of-tune solo at the end of "Sneaking Around" though. That aside it's a really fine piece of doomy Metal to keep your eyes open for.
Rating: - Rarity:

SHEE - AMNESIA/DON'T WANT YOUR LOVE 7'' 1985
The A-side is a pretty lame attempt at commercial HR fame & fortune made even more intolerable by slightly out-of-tune fem vox. The single gets saved from the dung-heap by a very sturdy lead-riff in the heavier B-side. It's OK shit, no more - no less.
Rating: - Rarity:

SILVER MOUNTAIN - AXEMAN AND THE VIRGIN/MAN OF NO PRESENT EXISTENCE 7'' 1979
No serious collector of early Metal contraband should be unfamiliar with this FWOSHM milestone. Save HEAVY LOAD's legendary '78 album debut, this 7" is the first Swedish example of the new wave of Heavy Metal appearing on vinyl. 2 superb pieces of oldest school HM with a heavy RAINBOW influence (surprise surprise) well worth the hype is what you get for your 100-200 euros it usually goes for. Jonas Hansson's slightly nasal vocals drags down the rating a notch for me though. Yes, it's cocking rare, but copies do appear rather frequently anyway since it's a well known collectors item, keeping many a dealers' eyes peeled. Beware of bootlegs and xerox covers.
Rating: - Rarity:

SLAM - TRAGEDIES! 7'' 1985
SLAM went from slightly offbeat HC/crossover on the first LP and subsequent EP, via this metallized offering and then back to original crossover on their last LP in '87. So why bother with this obviously 'un-true' release then? Well, if you hadn't known the musical history of the band you'd take "Tragedies!" for an original yet fairly solid Horror Metal release, perhaps with some mild influences from VOIVOD and early 80's goth. Sounds weird? No, it's really not that bad or off-topic, and certainly no HC-influences to be heard. I like it. So shoot me.
Rating: - Rarity:

SPITFIRE - HEAVY ROCK'N'ROLLER/IN THE NIGHT 7'' 1982
SPITFIRE's 15 minutes of fame are limited to 2 featured tracks on the first volume of Scandinavian Metal Attack, the compilation series mostly famous for featuring the first ever vinyl appearance of BATHORY. Significantly more obscure is this very rare, sleeveless Pang Records release from the year before. While "Heavy Rock'n'Roller" may seem like an inconspicuous hard rock standard at first glance, this really is superb, traditional NWOBHM born in the wrong country. What a classic this could have been if only they'd put another heavy cut on the B-side instead of a sentimental, pompous you-know-what.
Rating: - Rarity:

SQUETTERS - S/T 7'' EP 1982
This is about as rare as it gets FWOSHM-wise, but don't get your leather undies in a bundle just yet. This is nothing more than 3rd rate AC/DC worship done a million times before. Nothing wrong with a little old AC/DC every now and then, but have you ever heard an 80's AC/DC-clone that didn't bore you to tears? Didn't think so. "Rock in Hell" is an OK tune, mostly thanks to some more aggressive STOOGES riffing thrown into the mix and the guitars in "You don't fool me" are clearly up to something good, but only if you can stand a boogie-break or two and I sure as hell can't. Sorry folks, it never got better than their 2 songs on the "Heavy Metal" comp. LP and even that pig would barely fly. You can have a quick listen at their songs on their website and judge for yourself.
Rating: - Rarity:

STEEL ARROWS - LOUD GUITARS/LONELY NIGHT 7'' 1985
Promising artwork - disappointing music. First time? HA HA HA HA!! S.A. wants to be wild and raunchy L.A.-metal and proudly proclaim how "we're gonna rock your braiiiiins out!" but they don't. They fail. They're limp, lifeless and totally without punch. And the B-side schmallad suck. Despite being heavier than most bands appearing in this genre a few years later they're still a failure on all fronts. STEEL ARROWS! - YOU FAILED METAL WHEN IT NEEDED YOU THE MOST! METAL DOES NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY WHEN PEOPLE FAIL HIM! WATCH YOUR BACKS! 20+ YEARS IS NOTHING WHEN YOU GOT A BEEF WITH METAL!
Rating: - Rarity:

STITCH - DEVIL'S DEAL 7'' 1982
One of the earlier examples of full-blown Heavy Metal from my home country. Pretty basic stuff really, very NWOBHM-sounding of course, falling somewhere between HOLLOW GROUND and SAXON soundwise. The production is pretty edgy and in-your-face, which gives the A-side some needed extra push in the Metal direction. Once again it's the B-side that dominates. "Touchin' The Stars" is a superb, galloping piece of steel with a proud, swordwaving chorus. It's safe to say that the spooky cover shot of the band clad in black leather by some cemetery gates keeps it's promises. Pick this one up at the first opportunity, but beware of their late 80's aor disaster.
Rating: - Rarity:

SUCCÉ - DOM KAN DRA/VILSEN I STAN 7'' 1983
The b/w samurai-painting on the cover will grab your attention, no doubt. How lucky then that you came across this review which will now warn you that it won't get any better than the warmed over, TOPT-leftover, boogie-metal mess of "Dom Kan Dra" ("They Can Scram"). The boogie continues on the flipside, but the 'Metal' seems to have fallen off the hayride. A division of Timewasters Ltd.
Rating: - Rarity:

SUPERSTITION - SECOND LIFE/UNCANNY NIGHT 7'' 198?
A formerly unknown release that has been showing its ugly (?) face rather frequently lately. Melodic but hardly commercial Metal is what we're presented with here. It could have been awesome were it not for the youngster's clear lack of musical skills, vocals included. IMO, the more melodic and harmony-driven the material, the more of an issue this weakness proves to be. "Uncanny Night" is the heaviest composition and saves the day with some nice Maidenesque moments.
Rating: - Rarity:

SYRUS - FORTUNE AND FAME/THE GOLDEN VOID 7'' 1989
Quite a colorful release, this. And the vinyl was pink if I remember correctly. Or maybe green? Or blue? Fuck it. In any case it leaves a bad taste in you mouth even before putting it on the turntable and once you get that far things hardly improve. Run-of-the-mill melodic metal which may not be the gayest of the gay but still rather boring and bland. And another abysmal ballad B-side was NOT what the doctor ordered!
Rating: - Rarity:

TEAMWORK - HESITATION/WONDER 7'' 1983
Melodic yet not too wimpy Hard Rock that's way better than it's reputation ("reputation"?! what reputation??). Both songs have these cool, laid-back, atmospheric qualities that makes them perfect for that afterparty mix tape that lulls you to sleep in your sofa at 5 o'clock in the morning, drunk as a punk, happy as a lamp.
Rating: - Rarity:

THRASHON - WEIRD, WEIRD WORLD/FIGHT 'EM BACK 7'' 91
Nope, THRASHON are not 'thrashing on', they rock along in a rather American-style melodic Metal way and they do it pretty darn good too. "Weird, Weird World" is an eyeraiser both for it's excellent guitar harmonies and catchy chorus, as well as being so totally out of place and time. Fucking 1991 for doGssake! Yes, we like the B-side too. Their very rare MLP from one year later is an uneven affair, hardly worth the hassle. Just so you know.
Rating: - Rarity:

THUNDER - PARTY 7'' 1989
With plenty of collectors of Swedish Metal about you're excused to get a little excited when a totally unknown and unlisted title crosses your path, especially if the logo looks totally yummy, but then again the title of the single is "Party" and 'party' IS NOT METAL! It's only a few grams heavier than you'd expect a 1989 hard rock song called "Party" to be (it may not be aor, but hardly the heaviest of Metal either) and of course the B-side is another bloody ballad. Let's pray for an even rarer '85 debut hiding out there, hopefully with titles like "Tyrant's Castle", "The Night of the Sacrifice" and the likes.
Rating: - Rarity:

TNT - S/T 7'' EP 82
Oh my. Not much rehearsal going on in the beer place, I gather? The opening instrumental "The Brish" is a fucking waste of time and space right up until the end where it suddenly starts going somewhere, and then, well, it ends. "Flirtin' With Disaster" gets pretty charming after a few listenings though. It rocks, man. It's... groovy? The same cannot be said about the closing number. Songs called "Don't Break My Heart" always suck, even when they're not ballads. Simply disastrous. Metal purists run in the other direction.
Rating: - Rarity:

TORSTEN - KING OF THE NEST 7'' 1983
Ha ha ha! Who the hell was it who decided to release this as a bootleg on colored vinyl together with classics like 220V, GOTHAM CITY and SILVER MOUNTAIN?? Hey wait, I know who did those crappy bootlegs. (Note to self: point finger and laugh next time you visit the store.) We're talking about a new record in vocal constipation here, to the soundtrack of some sort of pummeling hard rock which may be called 'heavy' but so infinitely lame and monotonous it's downright shameful. OK, the B-side "Are You Ready" has quite a decent Metallic lead going for it, but I refuse to enjoy it out of sheer principle. Getting Eddy Malm of HEAVY LOAD as producer got you nowhere, kids.
Rating: - Rarity:

TRAZER - STREET FIGHTER/BADLY REASON 7'' 1981
This was the first band of KING DIAMOND-guitarist Pete Blakk, but why should that impress us? Everyone in the band except King himself are a bunch of posers so who cares. TRAZER on the other hand made pretty OK 'oldest-school', NWOwherever Heavy Metal/Hard Rock where the leads of the B-side "Badly Reason" slightly outshines the more rigid A-side. Uncomplicated but well performed and almost not boring at all.
Rating: - Rarity:

TREASURE - WOMEN IN BLACK/SPIRIT OF THE NORTH 7'' 1983
Why TREASURE never got to release more than this long lost little Pang Rec-obscurity is undeniable proof of how clueless and downright evil (the bad kind of evil) the Swedish label exec's were in 80's (as opposed to present day???). This is defining Swedish Metal at its absolute finest. "Women In Black" is a metallic jackhammer on par with the best HEAVY LOAD compositions and "Spirit Of The North" stays true to its name - a superb, pounding soundtrack for your Sunday afternoon dragonship outings. A 'treasure' indeed.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

TURBO - NATTENS BARN/ASFALTSROCK 7'' 1980
High-energy, juvenile hard rock from the kids that one year later joined up with Andrija Veljaca to form doomsters-to-be MERCY. "Nattens Barn" ("Children of the Night") could be an early RAVEN rehearsal. "Asfaltsrock" ("Tarmac Rock") keep up the pace but in an even more R'n'R fashion, something I'd usually frown upon, but TURBO get by on charm alone.
Rating: - Rarity:

TYFUZ - ROCK'N'ROLL 7'' 1980
One of the better of the early, proto-FWOSHM singles. I surprised myself by liking the keyboard 'licks' on the poppier A-side "Häng På" ("Come on"). It only works when the focus is on melancholy rather than happy-go-lucky commercialism, and here the song plods along in a nice enough, melodic THIN LIZZY kinda way. Flipside "Arbetslös" ("Unemployed") on the other hand represent the heaviest side of TL or those late 70's NWOBHM embryos. Truly a fudgin' great epic rocker!
Rating: - Rarity:

UNCHAINED - QUEEN OF THE NIGHT/FIGHTING FIRE 7'' 87
It's that Purple-thing again. The 'soaring' organ follows every guitar chord to the letter and in my ears it softens up the overall sound a bit too much, making them sound too much like early EUROPE. Luckily the vocals aren't quite as gay as those Defilers Of Metal, so the end result is pretty OK. On the other hand, compared to their killer "Victims of Paradise" from the Elva Band comp LP both songs sound like half-decent B-sides. Vocalist Pelle Saether now runs the well-known Underground studio in Västerås, responsible for a sordid array of modernist 'metal'-productions from all over the world.
Rating: - Rarity:

V/A - IS THIS HEAVY OR WHAT? 7'' EP 1988
A d.i.y. Thrash compilation that's hardly the Flag Of Hate I'd fly to defend the 'superiority' of the Swedish Thrash scene in the '80s. TRIBULATION may have been an excellent band in their prime, but "Pecuniary Aid" from the underproduced 'Pyretic Convulsions' demo sound even worse on this badly pressed EP. DAMIEN (yes, the "Requiem For The Dead" MLP guys) and GRAVITY sound so much under the international average it's downright embarrassing. This leaves ATROCITY's very amateurish Power/Speed, and well, yeah, if you're completely uncritical towards anything fairly fast with a catchy chorus I guess you'll enjoy them. As a whole this is hardly the first piece any Swedish Metal fan/collector need to throw themselves on.
Rating: - Rarity:

VAMPA - S/T 7" EP 82
In the opening track "Plugget" ("School") the vocalist sings about life in the 8th grade, but even to those who don't know Swedish it should be obvious that we're dealing with a very young band here. VAMPA were amateurs, sure, but they played within their capabilities and therefor didn't make complete asses of themselves. "Plugget" and "Tåget" ("The Train") are both good, sturdy riff-driven HM, simple yet likable, with some ace screaming vocals from the aforementioned 8thgrader. The main attraction here is however the excellent instrumental "Blackout", a galloping scorcher clearly influenced by IRON MAIDEN's old-time classics "Transylvania" and "Genghis Khan". Too bad you rarely ever see copies for sale or trade.
Rating: - Rarity:

VANADIS - HEAVEN CAN WAIT/DO ME A FAVOUR 7'' 1979
Good stuff and heavy enough to belong in the proto-FWOSHM category rather than the 'dated 70s heavy' ditto. Sure, it's not all-out PRIEST/MAIDEN Heavy Metal balls, but at least "Heaven Can Wait" makes you wanna bang your head a little. Not too hard though. Nodding and tapping of feet count as headbanging, right?
Rating: - Rarity:

VICTIM - FRAMTID MED HOPP 7'' 1982
How the hell do I explain my love for this awkward piece of Metal? They can't play, they can't sing, the production stinks and they're bloody White Metal to the bone. That last one is somewhat ironic considering how "Det Var Då Han Vann" ("That's when he won") reminds me of HELLHAMMER at their most primitive and slow, mixed up with some MITHRANDIR for the nwobhm harmonies and even more sloppiness. More cult & cool than anything else I guess, but what makes this 7" such essential want list material is the fantastic flipside "Framtid Med Hopp" ("Future With Hope", and yes these titles sound just as corny in Swedish). Musical skills aside, this is one superb piece of Epic Metal greatness, the lead riff conjuring up images of behemoths like MANILLA ROAD, LEGEND (US) and WARLORD. Yes, it really is THAT good.
Rating: - Rarity:
(3 without p/s)

WAGABOND - THIS IS LIFE! 7" 1979
This is Heavy! And and great too. WAGABOND were a snapshot out of the time when them ol' 70's rockers took a glance at the emerging punks and realized you could strip the music bare of boring, pretentious parts and stay hard & heavy all the way. The crunchy title track is a powerful enough piece despite it's slow tempo, but it's the epic flipside "Wagabond" that'll make your money's worth. This 5 min+ saga tells the tale of the band forming and I don't think I'm totally out of line when I say that certain parts remind me of the more epic, lengthy IRON MAIDEN-pieces. Not quite 70's Heavy yet not quite 80's Metal, WAGABOND were a sign of great things to come.
Rating: - Rarity:

WANTON - MOTORCYCLE MAN/I WANT YOU 7'' 1983
Yawn... "Motorcycle Man" sound like sexually ambivalent AC/DC. "I Want You" gets a little heavier, but only by ripping off a few old MÖTLEY CRÜE riffs which probably weren't that original to begin with. Back in 1983 bands could actually wear spandex & zoo-animal muscle shirts and still play ferociously heavy stuff. Not so this time.
Rating: - Rarity:

WARNING - ARMAGEDDON/SWORDS AND SORCERY 7'' 1987
This EP is what I would like to call a Promisekeeper. It looks awesome - it is awesome. Furthermore it's a unique release in the sense that it's the most genuine, late 80's, real Power Metal 7" from Sweden. I'd describe them as a slightly heavier version of "The Unknown"-era GOTHAM CITY and both songs are lengthy, True Fucking Metal anthems of steel. Whenever I feel like smackin' up my inner child I remind myself of how I once owned a copy and then traded it for some overrated 'über-rar" crap at a W:O:A Metal Market. Ouch!
Rating: - Rarity:

WILDNESS - DREAMS/DOLLBURNER 7'' 1987
A great teen-Metal act that got to release their very own private 7" thanx to generous city/school funding. All hail Swedish taxes and the redistribution of wealth to starving, junior-high Metal kids! "Dollburner" is a ripping Power Metal cut perhaps lacking some in the technical department, but not to the point of musical ruin. "Dreams" is more melodic, thankfully without the sour aftertaste of radio-DJ semen. 1 year later they had their third and last recorded track featured on a local compilation. No demos were apparently ever produced in this young band's career.
Rating: - Rarity:

WIZZARD - NINYA WARRIOR 7'' 1986
Super-excellent, primitive, full-color artwork alert! This baby just screams "Buy me!" and since more copies have emerged in later years that's no longer a hopeless venture. The title track is really great - not amazing - but really likable, melodic and rather primitive Power Metal. Double bass drums all the way, albeit a gear or 2 too slow. They were a young band (the vocalist was only 13 at the time!) and it shows both in their musical performance and in the simplistic songwriting. Once again there's a B-side poprocker dragging down the overall rating. For shame!
Rating: - Rarity:

WULCAN - MYSTERIER/TRAVELLIN' 7'' 1982
Another new discovery and possibly the best 'unknown super-rarity' I've come across so far. "Mysterier" ("Mysteries") is a deadringer for BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven and Hell" and therefor it is also a superb, ultra-heavy epic whose lack of originality feels totally irrelevant. The fact that B-side "Travellin'" sounds like warmed over STATUS QUO matters little when you can play the A-side over and over again while oogling the ultra-cult cover art without ever getting tired of that pounding lead riff. Let's pretend that 2nd aor 7" from '86 never happened.
Rating: - Rarity:

YPZILON - ONE MORE SACRIFICE/I WANT TO KNOW 7'' 1990
The heavily PURPLE-influenced "One More Sacrifice" will hardly impress the average Metalfanatic. Even if I've heard worse DP-worship in my days it's way too sweetened, at least for these bloodthirsty ears. With little anticipation I turned it over to side B-side and fuck me if this isn't quite the little gem! I'm having trouble describing this, but I guess YPZILON listened to the same folksy/epic 70's stuff that BROCAS HELM did in their youth, but went in a more traditional, hammond-fueled, lightweight direction. It's a great song, but not quite 'Metal' if you know what I mean.
Rating: - Rarity:

ZONE ZERO - HEAVY METAL 7'' 1982
Totally outstanding, pounding 'Viking Metal' which the gods demand you to search out this instant. Longer review here.
Rating: - Rarity:



Rejects

These are some titles that people have mentioned, asked about or which have just turned up in one way or another but which I feel doesn't fit the topic for this particular article:

BARRELHOUSE - "Far Away/Come on Down" 79 (pure 70's HR a la Zeppelin. Not bad though.)
BANG & OUT - "Riding The Desert Wind" 7" (not total crap, but a bit too soft for this list)
BLACKSMITH - "Tomorrow's Mystery" 7" 86 (commercial HR - the MLP kills though!)
CALILIO - "Lips/I remember you" 7" 89 (1 soft HR track w/ keys + 1 incredibly seedy ballad)
CHARITY - "In My Dreams" 7" 87 (post-WIZZARD, but commercial crap)
CRUT - "Efter 5 Långa År/Tunnan" 7" 78 (good & raw stuff, but belongs in 70's/garage rock cathegory)
CRYSTAL OCEAN - "Part 1" 7" EP (lame, melancholic rock)
EMPIRE SAINT - "Broken Dreams/Shout It Out" 89 (1 'power'ballad + 1 powerless HR cut)
FAKE - "Dreamgirl/Warlord" 7" 81 (soft & slow HR with tons of keys - they later became a pure pop band)
GRAND SLAM - "Telephone/Strong Together" 7" 84 (feel-good, boogie-style HR)
HADES - "Flickor Är Blinda" 7" EP 82 (various bits of power-pop-punk-70's HR-w/-keys, kinda cute but Metal is not cute and this is not Metal)
JAMMER - "Take Me Higher" 7" 83 (lightweight HR)
JOHANNES - "En röst i öknen" 7" (really weak christian HR)
KAZJUROL - "Messenger Of Death" 7" '86 (crossover/HC unlike their thrashier LP)
MASON - 7" '89 (pretty well played melodic HR, but to wimpy for The Corroseum)
NOTREDAME - "Jagad/Ödets Timme" 7" 81 (bland, homespun HR)
OVERLORD - "Vi kom, vi sågs, vi segrade/Kallt Ljus" 7" 82 (poppy, lightweight HR)
ROCK SET - "Piteå Kommun" 7" 79 (A side = punk rock, B side = boogie rock - a surprisingly common combination at the time)
SIX FEET UNDER - "I'm Gonna Win" 7" 82 (dated, lightweight Purple-style)
SOLID - s/t 7" EP 85 (booooring, Metal-free HR)
SPEEDNAUTS - "Suckers/I Can Dance" 7" 84 (quirky, offbeat HR. Kinda funny but nothing for Metalheads)
STONEHENGE - s/t 7" EP 85 (a pure 70's bluesy HR retro act, not too bad really but off-topic)
TRP - "My Bike/Lady of the Night" (more punk than HM from these sloppy junior highsters I'm afraid)
TRYCKVÅG - "Stay The Night" 7" 85 (commercial crap unlike their excellent old demos)
ZANE - "Step Aside/Damage" 7" 76 (awesome, crushing heavy/doom/psyche/spacerock but very much a product of the 60's/70's so I'll leave it for other sites to review)



Missing

It's my ambition to keep this list as complete as possible, and to do this I need your help. If you have or have heard a Swedish HM 7" from between 1978-93 that you feel should be included, please contact me. Your contribution will be credited and rewarded. Below is a list of releases that I've read or heard about and need to hear. Don't automatically assume that these are the most rare&cult releases ever, coz they may all turn out to be be utter garbage. Best to be sure though...

REPULZ - "Today Is My Future" 7" 81
SKYDIVERSE - "Ännu Ett Liv" 7" 83
VIRGIN'S DELIGHT - "The first sight of.." 7" 8?

I also need hi-resolution scans (at least 1000x1000 pixels) of the covers of the following singles: ACHILLEUS, ARROWS, DEVELOP, EXCITERS (pic sleeve), HEAD FORCE, JACKWAVE, QUINZY, R & R, RED BARON ("rock the highway"), REVENGE, SACRIFICE, SAVAGE SK▄LLS, SCRATCH, SUCC╔, TEAMWORK (if there is a pic sleeve?), THRASHON, TYFUZ, UNCHAINED and VAMPA.


Credits

It should be said that I myself don't own even 1/4 of all these titles, so this article would have been impossible if it weren't for the following people who've supplied recordings and info through the years: Per-Ola Nilsson, Janne Stark, Stefan Mattisson, Tomas Ericson and Patrik Carlson ...Hårdrock!

 

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