ARTISTS 2020

VOLBEAT DEN/US
A unique sound - like Metallica, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley combined - and insanely catchy songs are Volbeat's trademarks. The Danish band was a domestic success even with their 2005 debut. Their international break came with their third album "Guitar gangsters & Cadillac blood" (2008), followed by "Beyond hell/Above heaven" (2010) which charted in the US as well. Today Volbeat is one of the biggest European metal bands, and recently released their seventh album "Rewind, replay, rebound".
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IN FLAMES SE
From pioneers of melodic death metal in the 90s to the experimental barrier-crossers of our time. In Flames is a band of perpetual progress, and one who successfully defends their position as one of the biggest and most influential constellations in Swedish metal. Their 13th and most recent album "I, the mask" (2019) combines low-key philosophizing with riffing reminiscent of the band's younger days, and has become yet another international bestseller.
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NIGHTWISH FIN/HOL/UK
How you have pined, and begged - and now it's finally happening! For the first time since 2004 Nightwish will return to the festival. These titans of melodic metal, with their melancholy bombasm and classical soprano vocals, have become hugely successful and influential with albums like "Oceanborn" (1998), "Wishmaster" (2000), "Once" (2004), "Dark passion play" (2007) and "Endless forms most beautiful" (2015). SRF 2020 will also be the only Swedish appearance by keyboard player Tuomas Holopainen, singer Floor Jansen and the rest on their return after an extensive break.
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MERCYFUL FATE DEN/SE/US
Scandinavia's most legendary heavy metal band returns at last! With a big production and a setlist based upon the historical albums "Melissa" (1983) and "Don't break the oath" (1984): heavy, epic, demonical and topped with King Diamond's falsetto vocals. By King's side we find guitarists Hank Shermann and Mike Wead, drummer Bjarne T Holm and new bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning) for Mercyful Fate's first Sweden Rock Festival performance since 1999. Which will also be the reunited band's sole Swedish concert this time around.
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SOCIAL DISTORTION US
One of the great legends of US punk, Social Distortion formed in 1978 and their 1983 debut album swiftly established them as one of the hottest bands on the scene. Its followups "Prison bound" (1988) and mega classic "Social Distortion" (1990) greatly increased the band's fanbase with their country and western-influenced "cowboy punk". In later years, album releases from Social Distortion have been scarce but ever highly anticipated, and their eighth album is reportedly finally underway.
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WITHIN TEMPTATION HOL
One of the biggest names in European metal in the 21st century. Within Temptation have made seven studio albums since 1997, with an abundance of grand melodies, symphonic arrangements and Sharon den Adel's divine vocals on top. "Hydra" of 2014 was the band's last studio record before a lengthy break, during which Sharon worked on her solo project. Then finally came their comeback album "Resist" in 2019, to become another success with its pop-flavored but still dark direction.
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GOJIRA FR
These Frenchmen rank among the great innovators of extreme metal. From their 2001 debut they became well-known for unorthodox, technically advanced sounds rooted in the likes of Meshuggah, Death and Tool. Their seventh album "Magma" (2016) took a somewhat more mellow approach, also with great success. How the follow-up, due for release in 2020, is going to sound, Gojira have yet to reveal, but we can safely assume that there will be thoroughly crafted music and thought-provoking lyrics.
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ACCEPT GER/US
Not only is Accept one of the most legendary heavy metal bands ever, courtesy of immortal albums like "Breaker" (1981), "Balls to the wall" (1983) and "Metal heart" (1985). They have also made a resounding comeback with their lauded reunion album "Blood of the nations" (2010) - introducing current singer Mark Tornillo - and subesequent releases, most recently "The rise of chaos" (2017) and live outing "Symphonic terror" (2018). This will mark the only concert in the loyal Accept bastion that is Sweden this time around.
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OPETH SE
Opeth debuted in 1995 as an unusual hybrid of death metal and progressive rock. They were quite successful, and even more so since they whole-heartedly embraced their progressive side from their tenth studio album "Heritage". Three more albums later, singer/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt & Co have unleashed "In cauda venenum", a tremendous critical success available with Swedish and/or English vocals.
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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT US
The legendary pioneers of US hard rock were labeled "thinking man's heavy metal". Their first eight studio albums, released in 1972-81, overflow with innovative, timeless classics like "Cities on flame with rock'n'roll", "Astronomy", "Don't fear the reaper" and "Burnin' for you". Blue Öyster Cult tour with these classics to date, however they have not released a new album since 2001. Now, at last, this is also about to change - 2020 will finally see the arrival of their fifteenth studio album.
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D-A-D DEN
An institution on the Danish rock scene and possibly said country's most legendary active rock band. D-A-D debuted as Disneyland After Dark in 1986 and gained international success with their third album "No fuel left for the pilgrims" (1989). To date they have released twelve studio albums, most recently "A prayer for the loud" (2019) which have been praised not least by older fans. The record is not dissimilar to the band's early classics, where garage rock, punk and country & western form a lively mix.
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DEVIN TOWNSEND CAN
Devin Townsend is widely praised as one of the eccentric geniuses of hard rock, having been called extreme metal's answer to King Crimson and Frank Zappa. He gained recognition as the singer ofSteve Vai's band Vai in 1993 and got his major break with the revolutionary Strapping Young Lad, who released five albums before folding in 2007. In all, Devin has released 23 studio albums with numerous projects, whose common feature is that nothing is too extreme, or too non-extreme, to try.
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RAUBTIER SE
Their 2008 debut single and subsequent debut album "Det finns bara krig" ("There is only war", 2009) were immediate domestic hits. At the time of their sixth album "Överlevare" ("Survivors", 2019), Raubtier is one of the most popular heavy bands in Sweden. Their sound is industrial metal, and like their home territory northern Sweden it's hard, harsh and grim. But also quite contagious with lyrics worthy of attention - all notable ingredients in the recipe for Raubtier's domestic success.
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ALESTORM UK/HUN
A union of folk metal and power metal with humorous lyrics about pirates. Maybe not a recipe for success in theory, but to Scotland's Alestorm said concept has so far produced five bestselling studio albums since 2008. Vocalist/keyboard player Christopher Bowes (also the founder of Gloryhammer) having a knack for writing sing-along-friendly songs - "Captain Morgan's revenge", "Keelhauled" och "Mexico", to name but a few - is an important reason for Alestorm's popularity.
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CLAWFINGER SE/NOR
The debut by Nordic rap metal pioneers Clawfinger, "Deaf dumb blind" (1993), remains the best selling metal album in Swedish history. So far the band have produced another six albums, all chock-full of well-crafted lyrics, catchy rhythms and guitars and electronics in unison. "Tear you down" is the most recent addition to their list of singles, which includes such certified classics as "Warfair", "Do what I say", "Biggest & the best" and, of course, the legendary anti-racist statement "Nigger".
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AMARANTHE SE
Electronic dance-pop and death metal in unison, and with three vocalists. An unlikely combination on paper, one of the major Swedish metal sensations of the decade in practice. Since their 2011 eponymous debut - a success in itself - the catchy tunes of Amaranthe has conquered more of the world with every one of their five albums so far, most recently "Helix" (2018). And nothing indicates that Elize Ryd (vocals, Kamelot), Nils Molin (vocals, Dynazty) and the rest have reached their peak yet.
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SAGA CAN
Combining progressiveness and hooks, and making revolutionary use of synthesizers, made Saga unique from the start. Since their 1979 debut they have consistently impressed a devoted fanbase with grandiose albums like "Worlds apart" (1981), "Full circle" (1999) and the most recent and last (?) one, "Sagacity" (2014). Singer Michael Sadler & Co have previously declared that Saga will no longer tour, but lo and behold! In 2020 we'll still see these progressive rock titans take the stage at SRF.
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NILE US/GR
One of the biggest, most influential bands from the second generation of death metal, and major contributors to the genre's renaissance around the turn of the millennium. Nile, centered around guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders, are signified by being extremely heavy, extremely technical and by their fascination for ancient Egypt. A concept that they have nurtured with constant success from classic early outings like "Black seeds of vengeance" (2000) to their most recent, ninth album "Vile Nilotic rites" (2019).
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KVELERTAK NO
Their lyrics are in Norwegian, their music blends rock'n'roll, black metal and punk. An odd concept on paper, but Kvelertak ("chokehold" in Norwegian) have really impressed the international metal scene since their debut "Kvelertak" arrived in 2010. Following their third album "Nattesferd" ("Nightly journey", 2016) they toured with both Metallica and Ghost. Album number four is currently underway, coincidentally Kvelertak's first with their current singer Ivar Nikolaisen.
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WITCHCRAFT SE
The band that paved the way for a whole movement of 70s-influenced heavy bands in Sweden in the 00s. Witchcraft got signed after having recorded just one single, "No angel or demon", in 2002. Their 2004 full-length debut "Witchcraft" was widely praised for its genuine old school sound and to date another four albums have followed, most recently "Nucleus" in 2016. The band's sound has gradually gravitated to the more contemporary, though still firmly rooted in classic hard rock and doom metal.
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SONATA ARCTICA FIN
On their classic debut "Ecliptica" (1999) Sonata Arctica was fully a power metal band akin to countrymen Stratovarius. Gradually their albums got more different to one another and more progressive. The fans, however, learnt to keep up and album number nine, "Ninth gate" (2016) became something of a new fan-fave. Its follow-up "Talviyö" ("Winter night", 2019) also seemingly has a bright future ahead, and on stage singer Tony Kakko and his merry men remain highly appreciated.
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HAREM SCAREM CAN
A melodic hard rock act debuts in 1991 only to be killed by grunge, right? No, Canada's Harem Scarem still exist and probably boast one of the most loyal fanbases of their genre. The band's most recent outings have, to the delight of the fans, addressed the sound of classic albums like "Mood swings" (1993) and "The voice of reason" (1995). At present Harem Scarem are at work on their 15th (!) studio album, as always built around Harry Hess' vocals and Pete Lesperance's guitar playing.
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KINGDOM COME US
Kingdom Come's first two albums, "Kingdom Come" (1988) and "In your face" (1989), were very successful, melodic and Led Zeppelin-flavored as they were. Then singer Lenny Wolf adopted the name Kingdom Come for his own releases until 2013. Now he has withdrawn from the scene and passed on the name to his former bandmates. Fronted by Keith St. John (Burning Rain, ex-Montrose), the original members perform exclusively classics from the aforementioned two albums, like "Get it on" and "Do you like it".
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TROUBLE US
Doom metal pioneers Trouble from Chicago patented a unique mix of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and old school psychedelia, and their first two albums "Psalm 9" (1984) and "The skull" (1985) are hailed as genre milestones. Subsequent releases have also gained great appreciation with a devoted and loyal fanbase. Trouble's coming, ninth studio album - their first since 2013 and their second with present-day singer Kyle Thomas (Exhorder) - is therefore very highly anticipated indeed.
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EVERGREY SE
Evergrey's fanbase is one of the most genre-transcending in Swedish metal. Fans of progressive, melodic and "regular" metal have all embraced the band. Since 1998 Evergrey, led by vocalist/guitarist Tom S Englund, have released eleven studio albums, whose dark and thought provoking sound remains as hard hitting as ever on more recent outings like "Hymns for the broken" (2014) and "The Atlantic" (2019).
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ERIC GALES US
Guitarist Eric Gales is known as the prodigy who at the age of 16 released the eponymous debut by the Eric Gales Band in 1991. His powerful playing, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and classic blues, quickly made him one of the most lauded guitarists of his generation. Since then he has released another fifteen studio albums, the two most recent of whom - "Middle of the road" (2017) and "The bookends" (2019) - have definitely affirmed his position as one of the giants of modern blues.
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WALTER TROUT US
The greatness of blues guitarist Walter Trout lies in his idea that traditions and development are equally important. Following stints with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, he went solo in 1989 to become bigger than ever. His successful struggle against liver cirrhosis resulted in one of his greatest records, "Battle scars" (2015). His recent tribute album to obscure blues heroes, "Survivor blues" (2019), adds another jewel to his crown.
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NASHVILLE PUSSY US
"America's last great rock'n'roll band", according to Lemmy. Nashville Pussy, centered around husband Blaine Cartwright (vocals, guitar) and wife Ruyer Suys (guitar), have made six studio albums since 1997, unabashedly combining Southern rock, sleaze, psychobilly and more in a unique blend with a cult following. Fans still agree that the band is best experienced live, for the ultimate appreciation of songs like "Hate and whiskey", "Go motherfucker go" and "High as hell".
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JEAN BEAUVOIR US
The man with the famous mohawk has written songs for Kiss, produced the Ramones, and lest we forget gained fame in his own right. Jean Bauvoir's first solo hit was "Feel the heat" (1986), off the Stallone movie "Cobra" and his now classic debut "Drums along the mohawk". Numerous releases later, as a solo artist and the frontman in bands like Crown Of Thorns and Voodoo X, Jean's position as one of the heroes of melodic hard rock is firmly established.
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ECLIPSE SE
It was as an AOR band that Eclipse debuted in 2001. Their third album "Are you ready to rock" (2008) marked a change to hard hitting melodic hard rock - as it turned out, a brilliant move. Since then, Eclipse have grown bigger with every new record to become one of Sweden's most popular hard rock bands today. Nothing indicates that their new outing "Paradigm" will end their winning streak. Eclipse singer and leader Erik Mårtensson being a professional songwriter is no coincidence.
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HAKEN UK
Alongside Threshold, Haken is the leading prog metal band of the UK. From their debut "Aquarius" (2010) to their fifth and most recent album "Vector" (2018), Haken has been consistently growing and earned critical praise. Their music is highly well-performed in true Dream Theater-fashion, and frequently based upon ambitious concepts. "Vector" displays a more forthright, riff-orientated side of Haken, which as mentioned has done well with fans and even earned the band some additional ones.
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KADAVAR GER
Meaty 70s' proto metal with hints of stoner, psychedelia and occultism is what Germany's Kadavar do. Following their 2012 debut, the band swiftly gained appreciation from fans and critics alike. Since their third album "Berlin" (2015) in particular their international profile has markedly increased, and today they are firmly established among the most celebrated old school rockers of their generation. The fall of 2019 has seen them release their fifth studio album "For the dead travel fast".
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RAGE GER
As pioneers of speed-, power- and symphonic metal, Rage have earned their place in hard rock history. Being so eclectic has also helped the band create relevant, even classic albums throughout their 35 year career. Following several pompous and symphonic releases, Rage have in recent years gone returned to the more straight-forward style from their arguably most acclaimed period, the early 90s. This is to be continued on their 25th studio album "Wings of rage", due in January.
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BOMBUS SE
Could this be the new stars of Swedish metal? Bombus have found their very own formula that is still custom-made for fans of the likes of Motörhead, Volbeat and Mustasch, but with more additional influences than anyone can count. Since their 2010 debut "Bombus" each new outing has revealed a new side to the band, without losing their basic ingredient - maximum rock'n'roll. Their current and fourth album "Vulture culture" may be their most daring one so far, but remains just as easy to get into.
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ORANGE GOBLIN UK
Stoner pioneers with one foot in doom metal and a fat load of space rock on top. Orange Goblin have maintained the concept that their fans know and love for over 20 years and nine albums. Unsurprisingly the band is a stable unit where all four members have been there from the start in 1995. Orange Goblin also shun over-production, striving to uphold their innate rawness, as one can clearly hear on their most recent album "The wolf bites back" (2018).
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FREEDOM CALL GER
One of the biggest names in power metal, whose first three albums from 1999-2002 were instant genre classics, producing such fan faves as "Freedom call", "Metal invasion" and "Land of the light". If the subsequent, more experimental releases got a mixed reception, "Beyond" (2014) was another success and from then on, Freedom Call have re-affirmed their place in the major league of power metal, most recently with their ninth studio album "M.E.T.A.L." (2019).
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ORPHANED LAND ISR
A progressive/death/doom metal band influenced by Oriental folk music, with songs of reconciling combatting religious fractions. Too weird, or too pretentious? Hardly. Israel's Orphaned Land have found devoted audiences in multiple camps, and from many countries. The band's reputation has grown with each of their five albums so far, most recently "Unsung prophets and dead Messiahs" (2018), and their notable fans include Genesis legend Steve Hackett.
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UNLEASH THE ARCHERS CAN
The mighty hard rock nation Canada now has a competitive power metal band as well. Unleash The Archers, featuring power house singer Brittney Slayes, mix the fast with the epic and some growl background vocals on top. After two independent releases the band reached an international audience with "Time stand still" (2015) and especially their fourth album "Apex" (2017). They have just released the cover EP "Explorers" and full-length album number five will follow in 2020.
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BELPHEGOR AUT
Hard work and never compromising has made Belphegor one of the biggest names in blackened death metal, not to mention Austria's arguably biggest hard rock band ever. Since their 1995 debut Belphegor have been consistently gaining in popularity, without ever softening their brutal sound or their unholy esthetics. Neither will they do so on their twelfth studio album, the follow-up of their latest success "Totenmond" (2017), which will arrive in 2020.
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VICTORY GER
Victory is one of the major German bands in melodic heavy metal. Their first studio outings arrived in 1984-96, and include such classics as "Culture killed the native" (1989) and "Temples of gold" (1990). Since then Victory have been only sporadically active, but now they're back under the leadership of guitarist Herman Frank - for many years a member of Accept - to introduce the SRF audience to cult songs like "On the loose", "Don't tell no lies" and "Rock'n'roll kids forever".
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MÅNEGARM SE
Månegarm, formed in 1995, were pioneers of folk metal with native lyrics - Swedish ones in their case. Their early catalogue, arguably culminating on "Vredens tid" (Age of wrath, 2005), are genre classics praised by black metal fans as well. Following a period of lineup changes and musical experiences not universally acclaimed, Månegarm once more hold a steady lineup and their ninth album "Fornaldarsagor" (Tales from an ancient age, 2019) re-estabishes them as Swedish Viking metal titans.
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SATAN TAKES A HOLIDAY SE
60s' style garage rock, punk and rock'n'roll in unison. Satan Takes A Holiday from Stockholm do it in classic, no-frills fashion and "A new sensation" (2019) marks their fifth studio album since their 2009 debut. Since the very beginning, the trio have got a lot of attention for their contagious grooves and intense live performances. Not surprisingly, they have shared stages with everyone from Mustasch and Backyard Babies to Juliette Lewis and the one and only Kiss.
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PRAYING MANTIS UK
After their classic debut "Time tells no lies" (1981), not much more happened for Praying Mantis. But the NWBOHM's unofficial masters of melodic rock returned in 1990 and have consistently gained more and more appreciation with AOR buffs. One might even argue that the golden age of Praying Mantis is now, or specifically since singer John Cuijpers joined in 2013. At the very least, the band's two most recent albums "Legacy" (2015) and "Gravity" (2018) have received tremendous response.
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THE COFFINSHAKERS SE
"Horror country." Now that's a unique sound, especially in 1995 when Sweden's The Coffinshakers were assembled by frontman Rob Coffinshaker (known to metalheads as the guitarist in Gehennah). 1996 saw the arrival of the "Dracula has risen from the grave" EP, elevating The Coffinshakers to cult status - which they retain to date, several years and releases later. And their blend of vintage country, gothic horror esthetics and some rock on top still comes off as magical: on stage in particular.
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NARNIA SE
Neo-classical metal with Christian lyrics was in theory doomed to fail in 1996. But albums like "Long live the king" (1999) made Sweden's Narnia spearheads in the renaissance of melodic, 80s' style metal. To the grief of many, the band folded in 2010. On their return four years later, featuring classic vocalist Christian Liljegren once again, the re-invigoration was unmistakable: the albums "Narnia" (2016) and "From darkness to light" (2019) have been praised as being among their best.
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ART NATION SE
Since the release of their debut "Revolution" (2015), Art Nation has been one of the most buzzed-about bands in Sweden, live and on record. Their blend of melodic rock, metal and pop has been embraced by fans and critics alike. Making the third album "Transition" (2019), singer and main man Alexander Strandell decided to set aside the pop for his solo career and go full-on hard rock with Art Nation. This has resulted in a heavier record that still holds all the Art Nation trademarks.
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MAGIC PIE NO
Norway's finest in old school progressive rock! Magic Pie debuted in 2005, mixing classic acts like Deep Purple and Yes with contemporary heroes like the Flower Kings and Spock's Beard. Since 2007 their singer bears the name Eirikur Hauksson, of Artch, Aunt Mary and Ken Hensley fame. Magic Pie's first four albums have all been praised by genre-enthusiasts, and with its somewhat more unpolished sound, "Fragments of the 5th element" (2019) looks destined to go the same way.
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HORISONT SE
Horisont ("Horizon" in Swedish), alongside Witchcraft and Graveyard, are spearheading the ongoing wave of Swedish heavy retro. The band debuted in 2009 and has released five albums to date, most recently "About time" (2017). Their sound bear elements of early 70s hard rock, NWOBHM, classic prog rock et cetera, with the occasional Swedish lyrics. Horisont have only increased in popularity over the years so them now breaking a lengthy silence is welcome news to many fans.
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SORCERER SE
The original Sorcerer were epic doom metal pioneers and existed in 1988-92. However, the band only managed to produce demos at the time. In 2010 Sorcerer were reformed by bassist Johnny Hagel (ex-Tiamat) and singer Anders Engberg (220 Volt, ex-Lion' Share) - and this time it happened. The albums "In the shadow of the inverted cross" (2015) and "The crowning of the fire king" (2017) have established the band as one of the most promising "newcomers" in doom metal.
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OVERDRIVE SE
With "Swords and axes" (1983) and "Metal attack" (1984), Overdrive made two of the first truly classic heavy metal albums from Sweden. The band, featuring well-known guitarist Janne Stark, has continued to produce gripping and "denim and patches"-wearer-approved old school metal (ir)regularly. To the delight of genre connaisseurs. However, according to the band members, 2020 spells Overdrive's final year of existence, so we can expect an emotional send-off from a certified legend in Swedish metal.
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SIENA ROOT SE
The sound, the equipment, the feel and the stage show should all be the real old deal, and there should be a warmth to it. Such is the view of Siena Root, who have fought under the banners of early 70s hard rock since 1997. Since their 2004 debut "A new day dawning - a double album, boldly enough - the band have made six more studio albums, a double live and most recently the single "In the fire" (2019). In the process they have advanced from cult band to one of the prime acts of Swedish heavy retro.
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VA ROCKS SE
VA Rocks follow the path of the likes of AC/DC, the Donnas and Kiss - intense, hard rock'n'roll with an element of punk. The trio's first album "Pull no punches" (2016) became the talk of the town in rock circles, and the ensuing live shows in Sweden and Europe were triumphant. The follow-up "I love VA Rocks" (2019) has pushed the band even further up the ladder, and after touring with D-A-D, among other things, VA Rocks now make their highly anticipated return to SRF.
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