October 2002: Unchained are in Salt Island Studios in Karlskrona to finish the work with the promotion-cd ?Like The Candle?. Three tracks have been carefully picked for the record. And the members are very satisfied with the result, and that?s important for several reasons. Partly because that ?Like The Candle? is supposed to be the key to the purpuseful stake the band have decided to make. This record will show that Unchained is still kicking. Optimistic winds are blowing this night in October. But the journey so far has been anything but easy and comfortable.
Four years earlier, five school boys in Ronneby decided to form Unchained. The boys already played in a band called Psyche Force and therefore Unchained broke up just after a few months.
But in February 1999 Unchained reformed again.
- I?m really not sure why that happened. I supposed we wanted to move on and quite frankly we also wanted to get rid of one of the Psyche Force-members, says guitarist David Blome, who at the time already had a picture of the bands sound. The first Unchained song he wrote was ?Evil ways?. A demo was recorded and about the same time the band made their way to the finals of the music competition ?Musik Direkt?.
At the time the band was David Blome, guitar, Gustav Kronkvist, guitar, Oskar Nilsson, bass, Daniel Christensson, drums and Sebastian Viitanen, vocals. But shortly the band split up.
- We wanted different things. I don?t consider this early version of the band as anything that matters to Unchained of today. Our career started when Peter Eriksson joined us, says David Blome.
Unchained played at J?ndelfestivalen and Sweden Rock Festival and became known as a talented, hungry and fresh heavy metal band.
The year of 1999 ended with Unchained headlining the Christmas consert Lussesm?llen.
The following months was spent in rehearsal and at local gigs.
But there was a problem: drummer Daniel Christensson prioritized other things and didn?t musically live up to the bands expectations.
- We have been a bit of a problem band from the beginning.
And one problem was that not everyone in the band could sing or play. Sebastian, for instance, learned everything he can in Unchained.
And Daniel wasn?t really a drummer. He didn?t develop at the same speed as the rest of us. He preferred his skate board, David says. But for the time being Daniel kept his place in the band and therefore got to experience the gig at J?ndelfestivalen in the summer of 2000. Unchained set a new festival record when 1600 people came to see them.
This magic evening there were many in the audience that asked themselves; how can a relatively unknown heavy metal band from Blekinge deliver a dozen high class songs that larger band had killed for. Songs like ?King of Strole?, ?My Guide?, ?Theater of Fear? and ?Open Your Eyes?. The concert was unforgettable. The pyrotechniques, thousands of chanting visitors and heavy metal loaded with so much adrenaline that the members still get moved when the gig is brought up. The videoversion, for instance, is pure dynamite.
- The feeling was so fucking amazing. We felt like we played in a
much larger band than we do. Almost like playing in Priest live in 1986. It was cruel, says Peter Eriksson.
The gig became a source of inspiration to the bands creative leader, David Blome.
- From that time I felt that this is the band I want to put my energy in to, says David Blome who also remember the gig at Sweden Rock Festival.
- We played after Insania, a signed band. They had 200 people in the audience and we obviously didn?t thought we would get more. But after three songs people started to come down the hill towards the scene. It was mad, we had about 2000 happy people at our gig.
Full of confidence, Unchained now started to plan for single.
It was still unclear who would master the drums in the future and the recording was postponed - that time. Shortly, in August the same year, Daniel Christensson left the band
and his replacement was talented Martin Michaelsson, at the time drummer in Etharion.
Unchained mobilized to record the single ?The Antediluvian World? at the Salt Island studio in Karlskrona. As with ?Like The Candle?, Daniel ?Lillen? Johnsson, produced the single which consisted of ?King of Strole?, ?The Lost Continent of Atlantis?, ?Who am I? and ?Theater of Fear?.
The single was well received in the local press because of it?s high class heavy metal and impressive instrumental parts.
Shortly after ?The Antediluvian World? was recorded Oskar Nilsson, the bass player, decided to leave the band. In the future he wanted to work with sound- and light techniques. New bass player was Peter Erikssons younger brother, Mathias. At the same time the band won a video recording. For several reasons the project never happened, even if it started off.
The following six months nothing much happened.
But in the spring Unchained again made it to the finals in Musik Direkt. Unchained was the most competent band of finalists and should have won. But the music climate in Sweden made the jury chose a hiphop-artist as the winner. Some months later the idea was to again be success at J?ndelfestivalen. Men the concert didn?t turn out to what Unchained has hoped for.
- The amplifier died three times and the fumes blew, David remeber.
And as if there wasn?t enough problems, a schism was born between Sebastian Viitanen och the rest of the band. The conflict ended with Sebastian leaving the band shortly, or getting sacked, depending on who you ask.
- He pulled in another direction and didn?t like the bands new sound.
But we are still friends and keep in contact, Peter says.
Sebastians farewell first drained the band of all energy. But Martin, David, Peter and Mathias felt that they had more to give. And there was still an audience out there. As many times before the defeat was turned in to a success.
- I was so damned tired of it all. I was thinking of leaving it all. But I was a firm believer in the songs, I?ve always been, and that made me stay, tells Martin.
But instead of splitting up the band for good, Unchained stood up on nine and started to look for a new fronting vocalist. The band had heard and seen the singer of a local Black Sabbath-band Headless Cross. The singer was Per Karlsson and he was the one who got the question. Per promised to try. The chemistry was just right, Per liked what her heard and said yes to joining the band. And rehearsal started.
At he beginning of 2002 Unchained applied as one av many local bands to the competition ?Liveband of the Year?. They had no new material to send, but Per did the vocals on two tracks from ?The Antediluvian World?. And that was enough. As one of six bands Unchained got to play at the final on Klubb Rons big stage. Even though they didn?t win everyone could see that it was long missed Unchained. For the first time the newly written Ordinary Sinner? was played to the audience. The band had missed to play in front of an audience, that much was clear. The joy and spontantity was back and the performance glowed of energy.
New member Per Karlsson said it better than anyone else:
- Unchained is back!!!
And this time it was for real. A number of successful festival and club gigs followed during the summer and autumn. The band had newly written, fresh and strong material to present and they felt it was time to hit the studio again. Once again with Daniel ?Lillen? Johnsson as producer and in October the recording of ?Like the Candle? began.
This time the ambitions and expectations was higher than ever. It had to be great.
Nothing was left to fate. The feeling was, now or never.
The record was ready to be printed in December. The record contains the songs ?Ghost of the Alchemic Hall?, ?Ordinary Sinner? and ?Like the Candle?. Three completely new heavy metal tracks where melody met power, and strenght met refinement: somehting that was always Unchaineds true trade mark. That year Unchained warmed up Iron Maidens singer Paul Dianno in Ronneby. A concert where Unchained was so many levels better than the main act itself.
Now we?re writing 2003 and nothing points at this year not becoming as successful as last year. Priority number one is to make ?Like The Candle? reach a large audience. New material will be recorded and several gigs are booked in the spring. Unchained will have tracks on the compilation ?Raising Hell in Blekinge 2003? that will be released in March. The long term goal is set: to get signed and live off their music.
- Absolutely. Right now we?re promoting the record. We?re also writing new material that is heavier and more odd, a bit like ?Like The Candle?. I?m quite in to the obscure, says David who just finished the song ?Seventh Sin? together with Peter.
Unchained is back.
To be continued...