left to right: Jonas Åhlén (vocals), Mats Rydström (bass), Jon Sundberg (guitar), Niklas Matsson (drums), Robert Johansson (guitar). Photo: Hartmut Moewius.
After having made their entrance on the scene with the fairly straight-forward southern metal debut Here To Save You All in the fall of 2001 – lauded by some critics as the best in the field in more than twenty years, and this by a Swedish band! – and then taking a few years off before returning with 2007’s The Second Coming, Backdraft now return with This Heaven Goes To Eleven – their third, most ambitious album to date.
The album consists of nine quite diverse songs, from obvious four-on-the-floor rockers like opening track and first single Idiot and the slide driven The King Of Diesel, to swinging tracks like No Love, Stand and Out Of Here. The latter in essence a country song dressed in a hard rock arrangement, featuring drummer Niklas Matsson as co-lead vocalist together with Backdraft frontman and lead singer, Jonas Åhlén a.k.a. Revered Sorethroat.
This Heaven Goes To Eleven was released on GMR Music on the 30th of March 2011, both on CD as well as on a limited 180 gram gatefold vinyl (with a free CD enclosed as well as an exclusive bonus track: a cover of Blue Sky by The Allman Brothers Band). First single, Idiot, was followed in September by Yesterdays & Tomorrows, which was also made into a video as well as featured on Classic Rock Magazine’s October issue CD.
“Although Idiot is perhaps our most radio friendly song to date, the album as a whole is our most varied and eclectic so far”, says bass player Mats Rydström. “While some of our earlier material certainly had its’ tongue firmly planted in cheek, new songs like Yesterdays & Tomorrows, E.C.G.T. Blues and Wheel Of No Fortune also deal with the rougher realities of life, which we have only touched on in the past. I’d say that This Heaven Goes To Eleven is definitely our most honest record.”
This Heaven Goes To Eleven was recorded – just like its’ predecessor – by the band itself in their own A.R.T. Studios in Stockholm, over the course of 2010 and then mixed by Jo E who also worked on The Second Coming. The idea was initially to capture the live feel by doing a quick and dirty record. That idea quickly went out the window, and the result instead became Backdraft’s most layered and experimental album from a recording point of view.
“We were initially labeled as a pure southern rock band, which I think is a bit misleading”, says lead guitarist and founding member Robert Johansson. “I view Backdraft, especially where we are now, as searching for the essence of something more universal and timeless. What did Gene Simmons mean by ‘Get up, and get your grandma out of here’? While working in a primarily American tradition of hard rock that began in the 70’s with bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, we naturally come up with a hybrid of a wider range of musical input also including a lot of the music that influenced that music. Especially the lyrics draw from the country tradition with storytelling, mixing serious and hilarious elements.”
• Jonas Åhlén – lead vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar, additional metal guitar
• Robert Johansson – lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars
• Jon Sundberg – lead, rhythm, slide & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
• Mats Rydström – bass, backing vocals & acoustic guitar
• Niklas Matsson – drums, percussion, barstool, lead & backing vocals
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM
• The Duke Of Honk – piano, organ
• Erik Mossnelid – piano, organ
• Tobias Ander – more cowbell
• Charlie Granberg – artwork (charliegranberg.com)
• Richard Franzén – photography (rick-y.com)