This is a bit late, was first planned for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, but for different reasons I just didn’t find the time. Here you go however! The recap of 2013; some of my top highlights both band related and in my life.
Happy new year!
:: TOP 5 UNGUIDED HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013 ::
1. The completion of Fragile Immortality ALBUM
Believe it or not, but somewhere around September 2013 the sophomore “The Unguided” album was completely finished. Recorded, mixed and goddamned mastered! This is by far the longest and most trying album recording I’ve done up to date. Constant tracking and recording reaching over a year (not a significant amount of time compared to Chinese Democracy or that Brian Wilson’s album, but still!) Going ping pong across Sweden over the entire 2013, working on the album like monsters on the weekends and having our normal work duties during the weekdays, sure took its toll. But listening to the album, the actual end result, I’d do it all over again in a blink of an eye. This one is a beast and I’m so proud of what we archived during this trying year. Thank you; my unguided brothers and all the involved studios and personnel, for the excellent effort and salute to the fans for your unbelievable patience! It will all be worth the wait by the end of this month. Seeing our busy lives, I’m surprised we even got this together at all; I’m so impressed and so grateful we got to where we are, and I can assure you; sometimes getting from point A to B is not as easy as it first seams. One thing is certain however; “Fragile Immortality” will blow you away! Pre-order the album here.
Studio Sällström early 2013
2. Inception MV
The music video, that was once again; one hell of an adventure. Not as much people involved as in “Betrayer of The Code”, but still very trying to coordinate. Originally it was supposed to be an 11Frames green screen; “performance only” video, a bit more scaled down with the only concept tying into the album being the location of a post-apocalyptic city. Which was fine of course, originally, but then the single song was supposed to get selected and within the band it was a “tie” between “Unguided Entity” and “Inception”. The chorus in “Inception” was undoubtedly a bit catchier, whilst “Unguided Entity” had more of a complex and challenging composition, which is probably not optimal for a single anyhow (but we’re unguided hehe.) This is however where the “problem” started; the 2 candidates were also 2 out of the 7 concept songs. And I was somewhere hoping that we wouldn’t select one of the concept songs for the single, since the theme is a bit too bombastic to make something proper out from in a MV with a limited budget. Well, not too limited, actually bigger than both PD and BOTC MVs, but still no LOTR budget, if you see what I mean. You never know what single songs will wash up when you record an album, so it’s hard to plan for it, and it’s not really until when you stand with the finished master in hand you are able to decide. However, when the label voted for “Inception” to be the single, we were all convinced and had to deal with it the best way possible. A simple performance video, seeing the lyrical theme, was at this point for me; not an option. So I started my tinkering, how to get around the problem. What in the story, can actually be portrayed in real life acting, and what is just too complicated? Well, the prison scenes were optimal for the acting part, and then the complex scenes, we handled with sketches made by Kuang Hong, which 11Frames animated to make them come alive. This all set for a bit more depth in the video and you get an idea of the lyrics and the story as well. But seeing how much time and effort was put into that extra dimension in the music video, it’s just too much work, and in the future I think we’ll have to go with a bit more scaled down “performance only” video (which a lot of people like as well,) just to make it reasonable. Anyway, I love the final result, gives me goose bumps to see how it makes the concept come alive. 11Frames, the band and Ella did excellent performances! Check out the music video here under and get the single on iTunes here.
The Unguided - Inception
Roland on the set
3. Russian / Belarus shows
When we started this band back in 2010, with the philosophy we had around the band back then, if anyone would tell use we’re going to Eastern Europe for some shows a couple of years from now. We would probably just laugh at them. Its funny how a “not touring project”, find themselves in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk just a couple of years from when they swore they will not tour with just this “project”. This just states how important the fans are to the development and wellbeing of a band. We wanted to make a couple of albums together since we love making music with each other, and you support us to the extent that we just can’t refuse to find it in our hearts, to get on stage not less than 35 times, in 5 different countries the last couple of three years, with a full band. That’s pretty impressive for a “not touring project” I’d say! I think no one believes in that “project” bullshit anymore, everyone know this is a fully fledged band and there’s none stopping this now. We might not be the most active of bands on the roads, but we try to do whatever is possible, and in 2014 we might just come to your door step and strike that unguided bible right in your fontanel. Put on your helmet when it’s still time! Thank you Moscow, St. Petersburg and Minsk and everyone involved making just this particular weekend possible.
Unguided arrives in Moscow
The Unguided in Minsk
4. Command & Conquer TOUR
The spring headline tour with our Swedish brothers in dEMOTIONAL and Smash Into Pieces, was yet another milestone for this band. We had a great time, and hope you, the fans, had a great time as well. It was just a very loving and brotherly arrangement all together. Chris Lemon made this possible and we are eternally grateful, our best of wishes for everyone involved! The future is blinding bright for both Smash Into Pieces and dEMOTIONAL, I just want to say; don’t forget us when you are selling out arenas eventually. We can be your waterboys and shit!
C&C Tour 2013
Rog & Hank in Halmstad
5. Record Deal with Napalm records
The dark alliance between The Unguided and Napalm Records was certainly one of the highlights of 2013. A negotiation ranging over almost three years, was finally inked (with blood) in Southern Germany during a festival show last summer. Our first mutual dark seed being spawned just a couple of weeks from now and then we can see full on; where this will take us! We are really happy to be working with Napalm Records and they all seem to be really good people. We’d like to believe we have a good concept going here, and they certainly have the muscles to bring it out to metal fans all around the globe. Interesting times to come!
Signing day in Nordheim
Tour video feat. signing
:: TOP 5 LIFE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013 ::
1. Duet with Hansi Kürsch
There’s been a lot of good things going on in 2013, but there’s far from any of them being as grandiose as having guest vocals on a The Unguided song by my número uno idol; Hansi Kürsch from my favorite band; Blind Guardian! I cannot till this day believe me ears when I listen to that version of “Deathwalker”, and yes, I’ve listened to is probably a million of times. My voice being in the same song as Hansi’s is blatantly a lifetime dream coming true. I try to imagine my reaction, getting hold of this information in the mid 90ies, when I was rocking out to “Tales from the Twilight World” with full force, but my young mind would probably not be able to take it, and result in a fatality of mind exploding origin. This is just unbelievable and I’m so eternally thankful that we got the opportunity, thank you Hansi, thank you with all I got!
Hansi and I at Tuska Open Air 2011
2. Falkenberg Vacation
Luxury vacation at the best hotel in town, just next to the beach, with the most dearest to me. What a lovely week it was! The original idea was to celebrate our 2 year engagement anniversary in Falkenberg; since it was on that very beach we got engaged. But the hotel was overbooked so it was the wrong week, but still very much the right beach.
Meeting up some old friends
3. Sandhamn Vacation
We’ve made this to a nice tradition since I moved up to Stockholm. The Swedish archipelago is just magnificent! And seeing the Falkenberg hotel was overbooked the anniversary day, we planned this weekend so it hit right on the actual date, very cunning of us. We had a great time of recharging them batteries so they would last all the way into the summer of 2014.
Sundown at Sandhamn
4. Fishing Trip
Two friends (and colleagues) and I had a trip down to southern Sweden. To have a little trolling adventure of the coast of Simrishamn, this was undoubtedly a great time and we had great fishing luck the first day; catching 13 salmons in total and some of them weighing in over and around 10 kg. Quite an extraordinary trip!
On the red baron's boat
5. The Cabin (in the north)
Magnus and I also had a trip up to North land to get some fishing done and just enjoy the spectacular wildlife of northern Sweden. The fishing God was not smiling upon us the same way as he did in Simrishamn, but we still got a few pikes, and had a great time.
Lunch in the bear tracks
So there you have it! Runner up on the “Life Highlights” was certainly the Nocturnal Halloween Ball, but I had to weigh it to the others and in the end, I went with the current list. I just have to mention however, that the evening was glorious! Also, most of you know, I have this “Song of the day” posts on my official Facebook every day, and now it’s all compiled in an huge playlist, subscribe to the 2013 version of it here (and check out the 2012 playlist here.) Going to be a great year ahead of us with the album release and everything, I’m super stoked to have you all join in on the journey!
Nocturnal Halloween Ball, me to the left.
Song of the day: The ungudied – inception