SWEDISH MIXED COMPILATIONS
- A Journey Into The Deepest Throngs Of The Underground Metal Spirit -


NOTE: With the launch of The Great Olde Metal Compilation Encyclopedia, this article is no longer being updated. This new Corroseum-section is slowly overlapping this older one and already includes titles not featured below.


 
 

Always digging deeper...

My quest to record and digest every piece of Metal ever put to vinyl, and for the sake for efficiency, doing so country by country, has led me into this pretty much unexplored area of Steel-clad trivia: mixed local/budget compilation albums. I'm sure they're a common occurrence in the sales-bins of most countries, but for certain economical and cultural reasons they're an even more common thing in my part of the world. The popular trend of releasing small compilations by the bands in your commune/town/rehearsal place started out sometime in the mid-70's and has since been a cheap and popular way to promote and motivate the bands in your community. Raising the funds for these kinds of projects were relatively easy in Sweden (at least back then?) thanx to rather generous city- as well as private sponsoring being available. There were also a few labels around at the time who enjoyed cashing in on the vinyl dreams of plenty of young rockers. I've made a special section for the most (in)famous of these labels: Pang Records.

Availability?

If you're on the lookout for one particular title you're in for quite a piece of work since the edition of these albums were usually around a few hundred copies and practically never exported outside the borders of Sweden, or even their home town. The good news is that very few of them are considered major collector's items and when walking into any half-decent vinyl shop over here you are bound to found at least 1 or 2 for about 5 euros or so. Sure, there's a handful of titles that are considered rarities ("Skånsk Rock I", "Rockslaget", "Double Up"..) but for the most part these records will only cost you a minuscule of what a rare 7" with the same amount and quality of Metal music would do. They're not the kind of albums that turns up on trade lists very often, but ask around among your Swedish contacts and I'm sure you'll eventually find what you're looking for.

The Good, The Bad & the incredibly Ugly

In all honesty a lot of these recordings are far from brilliant, but contrary to common belief, the majority of them were exclusive studio recordings and not just nicked from some demo tape you could just as well trade yourself a copy of from some bigass tape trader list. Plenty of really rare & early material by familiar acts such as SILVER MOUNTAIN, MANINNYA BLADE, AXEWITCH, SYRON VANES, MERCY, COUNT RAVEN etc can be found on records like these, as well as a few gems of pure and utter obscurity. I hereby hope that this guide will give you some directions on what to look for and what not to. I've ignored anything and everything in the style of a.o.r. or commercial/"hair" hard rock (something very different from the term "Melodic Metal" mind you!) as well as blues-, boogie- and bar-oriented rock (yet again something very different than 70's oriented HR!). If any band members of these bands or people in other ways involved with these releases come across this article, please drop me a line! I'm always looking to update and improve this data, and who knows, maybe even get an old demo or rehearsal tape or two sent my way?

 

LOCAL COMPILATIONS AND SMALLER BUDGET LABEL RELEASES

"3:an" LP '84
The 3rd and most interesting in a series of compilations sponsored by
Sweden's largest communal education organization, ABF. There's 2 bona-fide Heavy Metal acts to be found here, the aptly christened CHAINSAW being the most eye-catching of the 2, with a neat looking b/w shot of the band clad in leather and studs on the insert. Both "Metal" and "Heroes Call" are about as common and straightforward as 80's HM can possibly get, but I guess lack of originality is preferred before wimpness any day. The 2nd metallic defenders on this vinyl, TRACE, is definitely the pic of the pair songwise. The epic "Rain" borders on MANILLA ROADish greatness and "King's Coming" is a fine piece of typical Scandinavian, technical and clever Metal. Look out for a silver/black sleeve with a photo of a mixing desk on the front.

"6 x 2" LP '81
Strangely enough this album was released on the very commercial Polar label, but did include at least one quite good HM/HR act out of 6 pop/rock deadbeats. The band was UMEÅ SMALL BAND (Umeå is a town in the northern part of Sweden mostly famous for giving birth to Metal gods GOTHAM CITY as well as a quite prolific HC scene in the early 90's) and both of their compositions display a rather heavy and crunchy form of early NWOBHM style that should cater to fans of BITCHES SIN as well as JJ'S POWERHOUSE. They also released two 7"s a few years later (the last one as 'SMALL BAND'), but these releases are unfortunately cut in a more laid-back HR/melodic rock fashion.

"Alsterett" LP '80
An early compilation released by the youth organization Aktiv Ungdom and the 1st in a series that also came to include "3:an" and "Quattro" (see separate entries). The only interesting band out of the 4 included would be GAIN, who made 3 quite listenable but far from essential late 70's/early 80's style HR cuts in the THIN LIZZY-meets-TOPT vein. They later changed their name and morphed into a commercial/hair HR outfit in the late 80's and released at least one 7", but thankfully I've forgotten their new moniker.

"A Major Statement" LP '88
A curious release, recorded live and mostly made up of awful indie/quasi-goth garbage, but closes with quite a gem. VELVET CHAIN's slow, epic doom composition "Winds Of Change" lasts for almost 7 minutes and will put a smile, ahem, I mean mournful frown on many a SOLITUDE AETERNUS fan. As of now I've got absolutely no other info on the band but will do my best to find out more.

"Apromus Live" 7" EP '80
A private EP released by the music organization/rock café Apromus with live recordings of 4 bands ranging from aor, prog-, pub- and hard rock, representatives of the latter being PIPELINE. Stylewise they had much in common with the earliest of the British classics, i.e. a small but noticeable step away from their 70's influences and into the gray area wedged somewhere between TOPT and TRESPASS.

"Double-Up" 2LP 87
This is a slightly more familiar release, at least for manic Swe-metal collectors, since Double-Up is know for having the majority of it's 26 featured acts somewhere within the hard rock or Heavy Metal realm. Unfortunately, this still doesn't make "Double-Up" a must-have item. As the year of release would suggest the majority of the bands included play utterly dull and wimpy "hair"/commercial HR, but there's at least 5 bands/songs that stick out a bit from the gayness: ATTENTION - "Misery" sure grabs your attention - and by sounding miserable no less. The guitars in the opening chord are terribly out of tune and the drummer sound like he's not a day over 15, but apart from that the song develops into quite a nice, melancholic/melodic Metal tune that sort of reminds me of WIZZARD's "Ninya Warrior" (for those of you fanatic enough to know that ol' evergreen). BLACKBIRD - "Rise" is excellent powerful, melodic and galloping Metal in the early RISING FORCE/SILVER MOUNTAIN style that definitely deserved a better destiny than being buried among the garbage that makes up 80% of this double LP. BLIZZARD - "Fading Away" is an earlier and heavier (no keyboards! :) version of the title track of their very rare MLP and in the same style as BLACKBIRD, only slightly less polished. Good one! FAIRY TALES - "Beyond The Death" is more of a Euro-Metal affair in the vein of bands like TYRAN PACE or OSTROGOTH. Quite annoying nasal vocals on the minus side, but still not a bad effort for a rather untypical Swedish band. Finally there's METAL AXE - "Breake Out"(sic) who should of course rawk! with a name like that and indeed it starts off rather promising with a hefty powerchord and all, but pretty soon we're let down by limp and lifeless drumplaying and awful vocals. Not much of a song in there either, but at least they weren't jumping on the Eüröpë-bandwagon like the majority of their dickless contenders.
Apparently this was some sort of documentation of a band competition ("Rock-SM") organized by ABF. Possibly with the band BLIZZARD coming out as winners since their aforementioned MLP from the same year was sponsored by the same organization. It should also be mentioned that the track list both on the sleeve and labels are totally mixed up and you're in for quite a guessing game trying to sort it all out.

"Drag Utan Droger" LP '80
Another oldie with at least one band worth mentioning. ARLEEP does quality, melodic HR of the good old kind so dreadfully forgotten nowadays:,( "City By Night" is a galloping, moody rocker with a cool, melancholic chorus, sounding like something out of KISS's "Dynasty" or "Unmasked" albums, minus the keys. "Golden Town" is you average HR ballad and only mentioned here for completist sake. The title of the album translates to something like "Groove without drugs" and some of the other bands included prove that's pretty much a contradiction in terms. That would not include WARPIGS though, who churns out a rather cute punk-meets-blues-meets-Motörhead style ruckus, but not nearly as close to Metal as to make this album any less superfluous.

"Drag Utan Droger II" LP '81
THE DUKEs of early fwoshm!If the first volume got a 2-out-of-5 on the necessity-scale, this 2nd volume will be honored with a full 5/5 rating. Not because it's major contributor, THE DUKE, produced 2 unforgettable Metal anthems of humungus excellence or originality, but because they most likely were the first pure NWOBHM-style, raw & hard Metal with absolutely zero 70's influence to be released on vinyl in Sweden. Recorded already in February of '81, both "Fighter" and "Street Survivor" sound as they were taken straight off IRON MAIDEN's "Soundhouse Tapes" session and they're a bloody great set of 2min+ tunes to boot. Fans of BLITZKRIEG, JAGUAR and MOTÖRHEAD are gonna love these guys! In the light of THE DUKE's excellence, CHEERNES barely deserves a mention for their middle-of-the-road, uppity heavy rock. On a totally off-topic and purely anecdotal note I'll just mention that this record also includes the strangest and most twisted version of The Stones' "Satisfaction" ever recorded (and yes, I'm well aware of the sick versions recorded by both Devo and The Residents...)

"Elva Band" LP '87
A local compilation from my old hometown of Västerås - Hooray! Or? Well, there's only one band of interest here, but UNCHAINED's "Victims Of Paradise" is an awesome, epic piece of hammond-driven Heavy/Power Metal that should make this not too rare compilation a must-buy for anyone who comes across a copy. They (UNCHAINED) also had a very rare 7" on their conscience well worth looking for, even if "Victims.." have to be considered their Biggest Hit.

"Färgelanda Spelar Och Sjunger" LP '88
Holy cow-fuck. Here's the the ULTIMATE proof that Heavy Metal can live and thrive in the most unhabitable environments. This local compilation from the Färgelanda-commune consists solely of vocal groups, folk music, 'talented' youngsters on violins etc. The kind of album any self-respecting, smalltown culture counsil seemingly wants to boast with when claiming they've "really done something for the music scene of this town you know...". Not one iota of "populärmusik" in sight ...except for junior-highsters WILDNESS and their pretty darn tasty, ACCEPT-like Metaller "Quasimodo" (!). It's catchy and melodic stuff, rather amateurish, but well worth checking out. It may be hard to believe, but this young band actually had their own private 7" out as early as '87 and despite the rough edges it's a surprisingly good piece of 'Brat-Metal', way better than other juvenile recording artists from the time and area (RAZORBLADE, T.N.T., SUPERSTITION etc..)

"Förortsrock (Musik från Järfälla 1983)" LP '83
This appears t
o be the first in a mini-series of records documenting the small but youthful music scene in the Järfälla-area outside of Stockholm. This debut volume should mostly be treasured for it's contribution by classic Heavy Metal warriors HYDRAThe 5 heads of the HYDRA! and their quaint but charming "Cross Of Iron". Despite being a rather stale and straightforward piece, it's surprisingly likable and catchy. MERLIN will have to live without any special credit since their pedestrian hardrocker "Heta Blickar" is incredibly boring. Zzz...

"Förortsrock '84" LP '84
Following last year's success, the Järfälla community spewed forth at least one other volume of local pop'n'rock celebs (there could be a Förortsrock '85 and further on, but I've never found any). There's 2 bands on this album worth a few words. DARK ICE's "Förödande Tidevarv" ("Disastrous Times") is an instantly catchy and powerful piece of original & epic Hard Rock which really justifies some thorough research. STORMWARNING is a completely different story musicwise. Their "Barn Av Gatan" ("Street child") is a raw, pounding 3-riff-wonder with some really fuzzed out guitars - simple but cool. Oh, and they were the embryo of what was to become COUNT RAVEN a few years later if anyone gives a hoot.

"Four Fabulous Freaks" LP '87
Serious must-buy alert here, folks! The hopelessly named VIRGIN may be the only band out of the 4 featured worth a listen, but man do they kick ass! Opener "Woman in Black" is TOTAL face-pounding METAL of the highest order, and the following "Battle Of Pride" is just as awesome as the title would suggest - pure Power Metal, fast, tight & furious! These 2 masterpieces will totally make you forget their 3rd and last offering, the awful, glam-fucked "Hotel Rendezvous" so update those want lists pronto.The (ahem) VIRGINs in question..
This album came out in a number of different vinyl colors and I don't really know which one is the rarest or most common, but even though it's quite rare it won't cost you one 10th the price of the rarest Swedish 7"s and the music will most likely be just as great. Or better.

"Girls & Boys - Helge's '87" LP '87
Oh my... I - really - don't know quite how to start describing this record. Let's just set the mood for you by explaining that "Girls & Boys" is thee strangest album ever released in Sweden. On the surface it looks just like any other local compilation, perhaps with the exception of the hilarious, extra corny cover art, but when impaling side A of this peculiar platter on your turntable you are in for quite a ride. You see, the good people at Helge's youth café in the town of Gävle though it would be a great idea to let the younger kids (probably about 9-13) fill up the 1st side of the album with their musical projects. To spice things up a bit, why not let them run rampant with preteen creativity and give them no directions whatsoever of how to compose and produce a rock song? The result became one of the most special albums I've ever had the fortune to come across, and as much as I'd like to dissect the insane lolita-pop of PINK BABYCATS, the minimalist melancholic disco of MINIMAX, the haunting, all-girl 'unintentional Goth-rock' of HERINS etc, I will try and stick to the more HR/HM oriented acts in order to keep the Metal-puritans reading. However, distinctions can be hard when we're talking about music this primitive. MIX MUSIC kicking the shit out of you!It's kinda hard to tell if the kids in ZERO ZONE (no relation to Zone Zero whatsoever) had Metal in their mind when writing their 50 second, lead-heavy, instrumental fuzz-monster "Good", even if the riffing sure invites to some serious headbanging. Or if the fucking intense rocker "Let's Go" by MIX MUSIC is an attempt to kick the shit out of the 10 years older garage rock mob or hard rock community. And I can't really say if ATOMIC really meant to go so all-out Doom-Dark-Epic Metal on their "Windrider" or if they just wanted to make a basic, slow rocker under all those wind-effects and reverbs. I guess OUR METAL had HM on their mind when recording their 1:40 instrumental "Let's Kill", but the riffing is so generic it could be classified as just about anything. Not bad for what looks like three 9-year-olds, though. The ultimate cult-piece on this LP is however the incredible "The Cop" by the young 'geniuses' in The SECRET METAL copkilla' crewSECRET METAL. This stumbling piece of anti-authoritarian Metal weirdness defies all description and alone makes the whole album into a curiosity.
There's also a side B on this album, mind you. This side seem to be dedicated to the older high-school kids, but unfortunately all of these bands fall into the abyss of below-average normality. The heavier acts are as follows: WILDERNESS = instrumental guitar jack-off stuff for muso bastards, RED'N'BLACK VIPER = substandard attempt at Hard Rock/NWOBHM-styled 'hit'-making, MANITOU = totally forgettable instrumental Metal, and finally OZARK = so bloody awful HR/HM it'll crack you up. OK, it's funny stuff, but unlike the A-side acts these babies are no longer cute, if you know what I mean.

"Klipp Rock" LP '87
I used to own a copy of this compilation many years ago but was foolish enough to trade it away before taping the 2 metallic acts featured and it's only until recently that I've been able to get my hands on another copy. The real treat here is 2 rare, later pieces by the
mysterious HELS, who released the doomy "Birth/Death" 7" two years earlier. Neither "Chaos On Earth" nor "Living Dead" are anywhere near the Doom on their 7", but we're still talking Heavy, classic Swedish Metal not to be missed by fans of HEAVY LOAD, TORCH, MINDLESS SINNER etc. The other interesting band is STEEL ARROWS, who I'm pretty sure had nothing to do with the other Swedish band with the same name who recorded the "Loud Guitars" 7" a few years earlier. "Love Is A Game" is excellent Melodic Metal with a great chorus which makes you hunger for more, so why the fuck did they want to waste their precious time and place in the limelight with a useless ballad like "Man Of Loose"? Great career move, assholes.

"Kristianstadsrock vol. 2" LP '83
IRONSIDE's mighty Metal masterpiece "The Ironsides" is simply one of the finest Swedish Metal songs ever. The raw perfection of early MAIDEN mixed with the power of MOTÖRHEAD and ACCEPT combined will produce greatness however you mix the ingredients. "Fight... Kill... Lord of destruction, Rape and steal... at the sound of HEAVY METAL!" - even their lyrics were super! Please someone track 'em down and offer them a record deal today.IRONSIDE - The Lords Of Destruction! Their sole metallic brothers in arms on this LP, BMT, can hardly match them with their amateurish rocker "Who Killed This World". Still, "Kristianstadsrock vol. 2" is an essential album thanx to those first mentioned. I should mention that "Kristianstadsrock vol. 1" from the year before doesn't offer much of interest for us Metal fans. There's a few boogie-oriented HR bands on it, but nothing that will entice the neck muscles of even the least demanding metalhead.

"Linköpingsrock '82" LP '82
An album that surely would have gotten lost in hopeless obscurity if it weren't for the fact that it includes the best AXEWITCH track ever recorded. "Nightmare" is an awesome, pounding Metal monster with an impressive guitar sound and excellent, super-heavy leads. Although this track never turned up on any of their official releases, a different demo version of it is available on the CD reissue of "Pray For Metal". This more intense version is however still not re-released in any form, so update that want list pronto!

"Music And Friendship" LP '90
Yuck! What an awfully sappy release this is. Some overpretentious youth café supervisor (of sorts) had an idea about releasing a record with a message of love, peace & pink fluffy bunnywabbits and scraped together some local youngsters seemingly ranging from ages 10-17 to realize his vision. The band MORPHEUS sound more than a little out of place with their peculiar mix of SKID ROW-styled HR and MEGADETHish semi-Thrash (no relation to the Stockholm Death Metal outfit from the early 90's with the same name). Far from essential.

"Musik För Miljön" LP '90
An environmental awareness-thingie by the looks of it, sponsored by the communal education organization Studiefrämjandet, who seem to have played a part in plenty of these kind of records. 12 bands from the Linköping-area and one of the bands you might or might not want to know about are thrashers TOTAL DEATH, doing a pretty average KREATOR-style composition called "Has Time Come...". I think they were something of an embryo to what was to become death metallers SEANCE a few years later. For the more conservative Metal fan there's the excellent DESIRE to check out. Their "Acid Rain" is a typical example of 1st rate Melodic Scandinavian Metal not to be missed.

(NEW!) "Musikfest Väsby-78" LP '79
With 50% choir music, 25% jazz- or folk ensembles and 25% "contemporary" acts you'd think this would be another waste of taxpayer's money but no, "Musikfest.." does validate its existence with one of the earliest examples of the metallic 'New Wave' put to vinyl: "In My Head" by the awkwardly christened WC. If the album title rings a bell it could be that you've spotted it on the want lists of many Europe/Swe-melodic-met'l/aor collectors, the reason being that WC was the first band of "Swedish hard rock legend" John Norum. This song is of course light-years away from the slickness of his future projects and all the better for it. It's raw, noisy, brutal and unpolished, just what you'd expect from a '78 live recording of a junior-high band. Hardly a genius piece of music by any stretch of the imagination, but so much more aggressive and fresh than anything their older siblings may have meddled with, proving that times were indeed a-changin'...

"Musik I Skellefteå 2" LP '82
Shoulder to shoulder with various jazz-quartettes and christian vocal groups, the northern town of Skellefteå's pride & joy, DREAM, offers one (1) outstanding early melodic HR song on this very rare local comp: "Mitt Djup Blir Ditt Djup". This is indeed the same DREAM who released the excellent but incredibly scarce "Lovely Rain/Catch The Lifeline" 7" in '79, but this mighty composition actually overshadows the 2 gems of their earlier release with it's goosebumps-inducing pomp-HR in the fine style of early SARACEN or mid-period RAINBOW. Another beautiful piece of music far too many of you will never get to hear.

"Projekt 12" LP '87
Yes, the Linköping rockers liked their compilations, no doubt about that. Neither the first, last, worst or best of them, "Project 12" is a slippery-slope of an album, ranging from easy-to-ignore melodic rock/pop via simply appalling aor to one or two half-decent melodic Metal acts. I guess CARRYON would be it's strongest inclusion - their track "Searching" shows plenty of potential but Mikael's nasal whines sort of takes the edge off of it. I guess you could call FORTRESS 'Perfect Melodic Metal' if you were a total melodic Metal-fan with little demand for originality, but as for me I'll just nod my head a little and shrug my shoulders. There's more of that hard rockin' music for the 'open-minded' rocker: sleazoids WET and FLASHBACK, melodic hr/aor like SECOND SIGHT, RUBICON (no relation to the great demo-only band RUBYCON) etc. So now you know.

"Quattro" LP '86
This is the 4th volume in the same ABF/Aktiv Ungdom-sponsored series as "3:an" and "Alsterett" (see above). It comes with 1 Metal band/song only and it may not be the most original piece of music of the year in question, but WHIRGIN's "Run Run Run" is heavy as lead and very much in the typical Swedish Metal mold of early AXEWITCH, TORCH etc. It's worth wondering if this might be an earlier incarnation of VIRGIN from the "Four Fabulous Freaks" compilation mentioned here above, but I don't have enough info to confirm nor rule out the possibility.

"Ripp-Rocks Skiva" LP '82
Scanda-Metal-collectors may be familiar with the band NAGAZAKI and their "You Can Be" 7" from 86, a rather mellow but catchy, melodic Metal affair of mid-league quality. Predating the single by 4 years is the song "Unknown Destination" from this local Piteå compilation, compiled and released by the music organization Ripp-Rock. To no-ones surprise this song is more classic straightforward nwobhm in style, which is of course very nice, but despite the more raw sound this song isn't quite as interesting as the 7" stuff. For Piteå-Metal completists only I guess.

"Rock I Umeå" 7" EP '83
Old Umeå act MOGG have more than their wimpy 1987 7" (featuring 2 ex-GOTHAM CITY members) on the conscience. Once they were a pretty darn decent Heavy/HR band and they have the demos to prove it. And the song "Loose You" on this rare compilation EP. Sure it's not quite the ass-kickin' Metal that their local competitors GOTHAM CITY was churning out at the time, but what is really?

"Rock Rock Rock" LP '84
No less than 3 obscure and otherwise unheard of Metal bands are included in this low budget compilation from the western suburbs of Stockholm. BONAROO (huh?) does the best and catchiest piece called "Get Out Of My Way", which balances perfectly both the classic HM twin leads as well as the singalong hard rock choruses. CORDIAL ATTACK's "I'm In Your Mind" is more representative of the kind of blockheaded, übersimple, chugging HM/HR so often found on German labels like Hot Blood, Wishbone, Bonebreaker etc. Next. EXOCET's "Will To Survive" start off with a simply awesome lead and everything is sounding dandy until the retarded vocalists opens his cockhole and starts yelping like the Top-10 Worst Metal Vocals Ever contender he is. Nightmarish! Such a shame on what could have been a really cool song.

"Rockslaget" 3LP '81
This triple(!)-album documented the bands involved in the rock-organization Rockslaget, situated in the Blekinge-area in the early 80's. I
t includes 4 bands in the heavier territory with 2 exclusive recordings each: Familiars OVERDRIVE and MERCY as well as the more obscure INTERACTION and OCEAN. The OVERDRIVE session is available on the CD-reissue of their debut MLP "Reflexions", but the MERCY cuts are totally exclusive to this day (i.e. not available on the TPL-reissues) and most likely represents the first ever studio recording by the band. What we get is an early recording of the NWOBHM-oozing "State Of Shock", later to be re-recorded for their "Swedish Metal" debut MLP, and the slower and heavier "Love Me Tonight", never to be recorded again. Not exactly mindblowing material, but worth noting for the occational MERCY-fan out there. INTERACTION gets a gold star for 'best song of the album' with their "Stuck In Drugs". This heavy riff-monster actually reminds me of WITCHFINDER GENERAL at times! Unfortunately the band's 7" and MLP from the late 80's is supposed to be commercial Hard Rock:( Finally there's OCEAN, who makes pretty average HR with a tad too much r'n'r for these ears. They're actually quite catchy after a few listenings, but some heavier material would make them much more interesting. They did a handful of singles and an LP between the years '78-81 and shared members with all 3 of the other bands during the years to come.
This hefty release is also considered a collector's item by early punk collectors, since there's about 6-7 punk acts featured as well as the old FWOSHM stuff. Unsurprisingly, this makes "Rockslaget" one of the most difficult to find compilations ever released in Sweden. There's a couple of other "Rockslaget"-compilations from the 90's that looked less interesting, but at the moment I doubt the existence of more volumes from the 80's. I've heard "Rockslaget 1990" and there's one or 2 sleaze-rock acts in there, but nothing of a heavier nature to enjoy.

"Scendrag 85 - DM-Rock i Halland" MLP '85
4 songs, 4 bands, 12 inches on 45 rpm, local bandstand, looks totally d.i.y. Ofcourse you get curious. I guess 1985 was the last year in rock-history when you could get away with the melodic hard rock-thing without compromising heaviness and integrity. DEAD LINE are OK at what they do and so are ROCK'S (wtf?!?!), only slightly less so. SABOTAGE sound like they could be a HR band at heart, but their semi-ballad offering does little to prove it. I'm just mentioning them to let you know that this band were in no way connected to the Doom-SABOTAGE who released an excellent private CDS in the early 90's. It's ironic how the last band, silly popsters MATILDA MUS had the only track on the EP which stuck in my head after first listening. Someone send me their MLP.

"Skånsk Rock I" LP '82
The 3 volumes of "Skånsk Rock" (Skåne is the southernmost territory of Sweden) were all recorded in the spring of '82 and released pretty much simultaneously. The 1st volume is the most well known and coveted since it includes an exclusive and pretty darn excellent SILVER MOUNTAIN cut, "She Needs". You can find this song on the Japanese demo 2CD "Anthology II" that came out in the mid 90's too, but they're almost as rare as this compilation nowadays. 2 more regular hard rock bands are also featured: BLACKROSE and AXID, but there's not much to get excited about here. AXID is indeed the same band featured on Pang Records' Heavy Metal compilation from the same year and their "Stadens Lag" is OK I guess - a pretty decent melodic nwobhm-style effort - but hardly on par with their killer "Reptile Rulers" from "Heavy Metal".

"Skånsk Rock III" LP '82
While "Skånsk Rock II" had zilch to offer us metalheads, the 3rd and last volume comes with a great, rare SYRON VANES track called "Violation", which to these ears overshadow most of their stuff on both vinyl and demo. Killer RAVEN/J PRIESTlike old-school Metal! HELLMARK also churns out some pretty nice & brutal MOTÖRHEAD-style HR/HM on "Get Up And Get Wild", i.e. a quite different sound than on their private A.O.R./commercial HR 7" from the later 80's.

"Stjärnor I Öster" LP '92
Hm... OK, I'll include this one, but just as a warning, m'kay? GENITAL GRINDER is NOT a lost masterpiece from the 2nd Wave Of Swedish Death Metal but the complete opposite. Fuck! Once I owned just about every demo tape released from this scene and none of them were as lame as these 4th-rate Carcass-clones. Wading through the rest of the crap on this album we come across PARADISE (the 5th from Sweden?) who sound eerily out of time and place, like an early 80's pre-Swedish-Commercial-HR-boom melodic Metal band, probably formed by junior-highsters who's been living in cultural seclusion for 10 years. I bet they're into that new, exciting Seattle-sound today.

"Urval" LP '90
Whale Records was another budget label similar to Pang, but who seemed to concentrate solely on compilations (at least I've never yet seen or heard of any other form of Whale-release). I've gotten the impression that they released an album or 2 each year since the late 70's up until at least the year of this release, and that they weren't as fond of HM/HR as their competitors at Pang. Out of the half a dozen or so of their albums I've given a spin there's only 2 that included anything metal-like, and CROSSFIRE from this one is definitely the best Whale-offering I've heard so far. Their "Evil Eyes" is yet another excellent exhibition of Swedish Melodic Metal craftsmanship, pretty much like the 7th Son-era MAIDEN-stuff.

"Val-81" LP '81
One of the earliest Whale Records budget compilations includes the oddly named THE MOOSE. Their one song with the same name is an OK heavy hardrocker with a 70's touch. I've seen this band appearing on 2 other compilations from a few years later, but then in a more boogie-rock fashion and therefore not worth mentioning in this article.

"Vykort Från Malmö" LP '80
The only track on this local compilation of bands from the southern city of Malmö worth a listen is "Malmö City" by the band ZANE. It's basically a pure 70's Heavy cut, but it has a nice, raw groove to it and deserves a mention purely on the merits of their MONSTROUSLY heavy 7" released in '76. This song is however pretty far from the HAWKWIND-meets-SABBATH bulldozer sound of their early days.

"Weine Wräks Poporkester/Östgötarock" LP '82
Exactly like on "Linköpingsrock" (see above), this otherwise totally redundant album includes a very rare version of an old AXEWITCH demo-song, their theme-song "Axewitch" in this case. Just as on "Nightmare" from "Linköpingsrock" and their "Pray For Metal" debut EP we're dealing with very heavy & remorseless Metal of the hardest kind. Them kooky AXEWITCH dudes I just love the poetic justice in the fact that the so-called 'talented' generic rock act Weine Wräks.. who make up the whole A-side of this queer split/comp-LP affair (after winning some corny talent show?) are about as forgotten as the plastic bicycle today, while devoted Metal fans and/or collectors on the other side of the globe would sell their souls for this album just for the sake of AXEWITCH's sole metal-offering, most likely scorned back in the days for being a bunch of noisy misfits and troublemakers.
There's also a cut with the band DIZZINES on here who released a very rare melodic HR 12" a few years later, but this is a ballad and ballads doesn't count as songs, so never mind that.

 

 

PANG RECORDS COMPILATIONS

Pang shouldn't be a too unfamiliar moniker to the more dedicated FWOSHM collectors. This infamous rip-off label were behind some of the most legendary Swedish Metal 7"s of the early 80's, such as ZONE ZERO, SHAKESPEARE, TREASURE, KEEN HUE, RISING and many more. Between the years 1982-83 they also released 17 compilation albums, most of them including at least one or more HM/HR bands. The formula was pretty much the same on each compilation: 8 bands with 2 songs each (which often lead to playingtimes up to 60 min/album!), cheap b/w artwork and absolutely no restrictions for who could be included as long as they paid for the studio time themselves. These loose shackles often made for a rather sordid listening experience, but it also brought out a couple of real gems of early, raw FWOSHM music into the limelight. Here are some info on the complete LP-discography of Pang Records:

(PLP 001-005 - Full-length releases of various schlager/hillbilly-pop artists)

(PLP 006 - "Skval" LP '81)
Pang's first compilation. A slightly more professional release than the later comps, but absolutely no HM/HR stuff featured. Mostly pop/rock/new wave.

(PLP 007 - P F COMMANDO LP '81 - New wave. Never released.)

(PLP 008 - More hillbylly/schlager crap from Kårsdraget)

PLP 009 - "Motala Vindar" LP '82
This early compilation is a bit unusual in that it's a co-op with a local music organization (Rivoli) from the Motala area. With a rather small community to chose from, this leads to the overall musical quality being unusually low even for a Pang-comp. Opening Metal crew HINDORF actually stand out as the most competent act on the album. Both their compositions suffer from the not-too-great vocals of Tommy Adolfsson, but the excellent guitar work more than makes up for it. We're talking heavy, groovy stuff in the style of AXE WITCH or GLORY BELLS with some underlying 70's vibes. 2 quite good songs with riffing that grows with each listen. There's a handful of other guitar oriented bands on here as well, which at best could be described as "amateurish melodic (hard?) rock" but nothing worth mentioning in capitals.

(PLP 010 - "Made In GBG" LP '82)
Nothing for the Hard Rockin' Metalhead to rejoice over here I'm afraid. There's one or 2 AORish acts, STEAMROLLER BAND's boogie/punk-rock miscarriage and 2 songs by QUINZY whose 7" from 2 years earlier was pretty good 70's style heavy, but here proved to be a popified and keyboardized disappointment. Avoid.

(PLP 011 - Even more schlager/country crap)

PLP 012 - "Högtryck" LP '82
Definitely not the most happening compilation from the Pang-vaults, at least for us me'lheds, but SUB LUNA's "Heavy Fog" is an OK, moody hardrocker with an ample chorus. Their other cut "Knocking At Your Door" is far too much pub rock for the average True Metal elitist though. For collectors only.

PLP 013 - "Rock Cocktail" LP '82
This one holds some really great hard rockin' stuff within it's folds. Let's leave the best for last and instead start off with ROCKSLAG. "Speeding High" is a fine, fast 70's hardrocker á la PURPLE's "Highway Star" ...and their second song ("Förbud") is of course, now according to pattern, a letdown into the Generic Rock sewer. "The Song Of The Wounded Soldier" with the cleverly baptized PARANOID is a metal ballad which like most ballads don't give you much of an idea of the band's sound. "Up The Swords" on the other hand starts out pretty fucking phenomenal with an intro of a grim voice spewing forth some rad satanic mumbo jumbo. Unfortunately the weak vocals and sloppy drumming later ruins what could have been a fucking excellent Epic Metal battle hymn. Not a total disaster though. "The Shit" (as opposed to the "shit") on this album is however the magnificent SNÖFALL! Save the legendary NOVEMBER this could be the best 70's (well, stylewise..) Heavy Metal ever recorded in Sweden! Both "Farlig Vänskap" and "Frusna Tår" and fucking devastatingly heavy-as-mastodont-poo-poo stuff in the style of BANG, Australians BUFFALO or speeded-up SABBATH. Top-class songs and musicianship that deserved a so much better destiny than falling into the Pang Records' well of obscurity:(

PLP 014 - "Rock Beast" LP '82
This one includes no less than 4 bands worthy of mentioning in the same breath as metal - half of the LP! Still this doesn't make it one of the all-time Pang must-haves since the bands are more than a little uneven. The one potential Metal Monster here is TRANSYLVANIA who makes what can only be described as a total early MAIDEN-rip-off; galloping drums and excellent, brutal twin leads all the way through both "Straight Shooter" and "Axman"(sic) - which usually means two thumbs up from this reviewer and I guess, most of you reading this - but once again the overall experience is ruined by awful vocals. Terrible, terrible nasal whines which only makes you wanna smack the guy in the face rather than bang your head. OVERKILL (the 5th?) on the other hand have slightly better vocals and makes pretty classy, hard & heavy Metal of the British tradition. EXIT has a great, upbeat nwobhm-rocker á la TRESPASS/PERSIAN RISK with their "Lost Woman". Unfortunately their second offering "Låt Mig Gå" is an exceptionally silly piece of redundant boogie-rock. What a fucking waste. SECOND HAND produces more of that silly, happy-go-lucky, semi-HR/bar/pop-band shite on "Jag Vill Ha", but gets considerable heavier on "Tunga Droppar" with one or two really great riffs. In conclusion, "Rockbeast" is neither the best nor the worst compilation in the Pang-flora, but definitely worth picking up for the collector of obscure early 80's Metal.

(PLP 015 - "GöteborgsrockYtterrock" LP '82)
It includes a couple of bands that the greediest of the greedy eBay pushers might try to sell you as "killer melodic metal!" but seriously folks, they're all lame, mellow, semi-hard rock/pop throwaways. Avoid.

(PLP 016 - "Pangkaka" LP '82)
A 100% Metal-free compilation, although the inclusion of trad punksters TERROR POP tend to entice the punk collectors. Nothing to see here folks, now move along...

PLP 017 - "Heavy Metal" LP '82
...is the only Pang-compilation with solely Hard Rock and Metal bands. You can read a more thorough review of this LP in the regular review section.

PLP 018 - "Rock'n'Rock" LP '82
Ohmygod this might very well be the WORST album title in the recorded history of rock! I humbly apologize for my fellow countrymen's abysmal lack of fantasy and good taste. And that goes for GLORY's (no relation to the Swedish A.O.R. band) terrible boogie-rock cut "Våran Grej" too. The lyrics are so feeble they sound like something your old kindergarten teacher would have come up with (that inane "we just wanna play some old time r'n'r and isn't that so very cute of us?"-crap). To confuse matters their other cut "Hjälp Mej" isn't a half-bad powerful hardrocker. It's nifty vocal harmonies are about all this album has to offer us I'm afraid.

PLP 019 - "Från Pop Till Ny Våg" LP '83
The title translates "From Pop to New Wave" which doesn't sound very promising. And sure, this album only includes one real Metal band, but SFB's very JUDAS PRIEST-influenced Metal is slightly above the Pang-compilation average. Both "Taste Of Hell" and "Beyond The Barrier" sound very much like something out of "Sin After Sin" or "Stained Class" and vocalist Anders Pettersson sound dead-on like a young Rob Halford stuck in a particularly high vocal loop. A bit too high for sensible ears perhaps, but as a whole it's rather neat stuff.

PLP 020 - "Rock On, Roll On" LP '83
There's definitely a few nice moments on this 20th Pang album release to make it worth looking for. My favorite would be SUCCESS' moody & heavy "Suicide". Great, crunchy, spicy metalfuel for your everyday HM-breakfast. Their other song "You Got Me" ain't that bad a slice of NWOBHM/HR either. TZ might not have been the smartest songwriters/musicians of 1983, but they carry this special, amateurish X-factor with them that makes both their compositions stand out just a little from the main part of the HR garage-acts of the day. Pure juvenile Metal charm. LAZY wraps up this compilation with some aggressive, very groovy 70's Metal which reminds me of the excellent American, singles-only band JAGGED EDGE.

(PLP 021 - Hillbilly garbage)

PLP 022 - "Kommerciell Kultur" LP '83
At first this seemed like a totally uninteresting release, but after giving it a 2nd, more thorough listen the vocals of KAMAX seemed very familiar. It turns out that this band is in fact pre-MANINNYA BLADE! Or at least some project of main MB-founders Leif Eriksson and Jan Blomquist, wedged between their early FAIR WARNING-incarnation and the later Swedish Thrash-instigators. In other words this should rock us to hell and back and then some, but... no, not quite. "Skapa En Dröm" is an OK semi-ballad with some heavy guitar work, while "Älska Hårt" is quite redundant, primitive HR. At least this makes their godly "The Barbarian" 7" from one year later an even more impressive achievement. 2 more bands worth mentioning: BLOW OUT = more redundant HR, and ROCKY MOUNTAINS = 1 decent NWOBHM-style rocker + 1 lame semi-ballad/a.o.r.-style cut.

(PLP 023 - Some lame 60's cover band)

PLP 024 - "Helgdagsrock Åt Far" LP '83
One of the few really essential Pang comps, mainly thanx to the inclusion of one of Sweden's finest demo-only acts WITCH, hailing from the town of Umeå. The great "Evil Night" and downright brilliant "White Death" is dark, heavy & slightly original Heavy Metal of the highest order, which at their best invokes images of MERCYFUL FATE and ANGEL WITCH in your mind. Note that these 2 songs are not included on any of their 3 demos. Even more curious are the weird THE COSMOS BAND, who has taken such a rare direction as instrumental prog-metal. Despite the warning signs that this moniker might produce, they're actually quite heavy, mostly thanx to the absence of keyboards. "Chipp" include some really outstanding, heavy & epic CIRITH UNGOL-style riffing, while "Ezalta Zione" occasionally gets too quirky for it's own good. Less interesting but worth a mention are WOLF's early-NWOBHM-styled "Het Kärlek" (but not so much their plainer rocker "Jag Vill Ha Dig") and TNT's ultra-primitive-bordering-on-humorous hardrockers "Hard Time" and "Dirty Lady". We're talking an average band member age of 15 years tops here. This is by the way not the same TNT as the Umeå-act who made an almost as primitive 7" EP one year earlier. Closing act RICHIE'S RAINBOOTS will have to live without an honorable mention for being so chickenshit as to only offer us 2 tired Deep Purple-covers. Lazy bastards>:(

PLP 025 - "On The Rocks" LP '83
Man are these Pang-titles sings of pure genius or wot...(sigh). DARKNESS are my favorite rockers on PLP 025. Both their songs portray a very melancholic but raw, melodic form of Metal, very 'Scandinavian' if you know what I mean. On the other hand, if it weren't for their wimpy instrumental theme-song, HOLY ANGEL would have been Thee Band rocking 'On The Rocks'. Their "Longing For Your Love" comes with one of those perfect, heavy & catchy Hard Rock riffs and it's just another bloody awesome song not to be missed. Finally, if you ignore the rather lame vocal attempts and gayish keyboards, THE LIZZARD aren't half-bad at their riff-oriented Hard Rock, with special headnoddings to the darker "Falling World".

PLP 026 - "Pang I Bygget" LP '83
Another rare must-buy Pang-item here, and this time it's pretty much only because of one song, but what a song! I.Q. ZERO's seminal "Murderer" could be the definition of pure genius, D.I.Y./Basement Metal charm! The galloping leads beneath an almost timid production and that fantastic, goosebumps-inducing chorus will melt the hardest Metal heart in no time. Their 2nd effort "Evil" ain't exactly dogpoo either. THE LEGACY on the other hand turned out to be quite a disappointment. With a song title like "At The Threshold Of Hell" I guess I expected more than very tedious, straight-ahead, THE RODS-meet-AC/DC style Hard Rock. I actually enjoyed their bluesier/groovier cut "D.O.M."(Drink's On Me) the most.

(PLP 027-029 - Crap, crap & more crap)

PLP 030 - "Mixed Music For Lonely Nights..." LP '83
The last Pang compilation and home to at least 2 HM/HR bands worth noticing. TRAZADOR start out very promising with some noisy, droneish, HAWKWIND-like riffing in the beginning of "Lost Woman" but of course spoils the mood entirely when they push their piss-poor vocalist towards the microphone. If you ask me, this is one of the few things that justifies hating someone you've never met. F-U, Mr. TRAZADOR-"singer"! And let's just pretend that pointless cover song never happened, shall we? The singer of INTRUDER isn't exactly a vocal chord magician either, but at least he doesn't manage to totally ruin their 2 contributions. The song "Intruder" is a remarkably boring piece for a theme-song, but on the faster, almost Power Metal "Why Live At All" they do impress with some fine harmonies and leads. "Mixed Music.." indeed.

(PLP 031-032 - More mellow garbage)

 

Now, if YOU are sitting on more of these kinds of albums, please get in contact and perhaps we can sort out some kind of exchange. That is, if you are able to tranfer vinyl to CDR or mp3. I'm hoping to make an international edition of this article some time in the future, so this call for help is ofcourse not restricted to Swedish releases only. All contributions will be duly credited.

Cheers to Tomas Erikson, Patrik Carlson, Stefan Mattisson, Anders Tornsö and Pelle Gustavsson for sharing their collections.

 
 
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