The Unguided

The Fallen Angels Era:

To get a better understanding of who The Unguided actually are, how the band came to be, and what variables were in play behind the project, we have to travel nearly a decade back in time. In the year 2002 the Sjunnesson brothers formed a melodic metal band called Fallen Angels. This band was the result of the brothers not being allowed to act out their musical view in a loosely hanging former project, and therefore, a decision was made to move on. In Fallen Angels the brothers made sure to surround themselves with likeminded people—people who not only shared their musical vision, but also whom they trusted. Fallen Angels persistently worked their way from their hometown in Falkenberg, on the west coast of Sweden, into the underground of their country with convincingly striking power. During the Fallen Angels era, they toured the underground diligently and also released three demos, which included Fall from Heaven 2003, Black Lotus 2003, and ultimately Extinction 2004. The rumors of Fallen Angels spread outside the boundaries of Sweden quickly. As a result, their effort of Extinction began to dig its vicious hooks into Scandinavia, Europe, and across the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004 The American label, Pivotal Rockordings, inked a deal with Fallen Angels to record their debut album.

The debut album of Fallen Angels was entitled Eden Fire. The framework of the LP consisted of rerecordings of the demos Extinction and Black Lotus. They also introduced three new, steaming fresh songs to the mix. Since Eden Fire summed up a vast time era of different musical styles, it was decided to separate the songs on the album into chapters, in order to not confuse the listener. Eden Fire started off with the three new songs, and progressed faithfully with an accurate time line denoting when each demo was created.

During the recording of the album, Fallen Angels coincidentally encountered a very peculiar figure, which came to be an important force later on in their career. His name was Roland Johansson. He was not only a man with a huge amount of character, and a chronic flow of practical jokes, but also a man with a spectacularly powerful, melodic voice. On the debut album Fallen Angles wanted to introduce clean vocals.

This was a bearing concept of four out of ten songs on the album. Roland was called in to shoulder this request.

The Sonic Syndicate Era:
In 2005 Pivotal Rockordings released Eden Fire upon the world. Two weeks before the release of the album, however, it was decided to rename Fallen Angels to Sonic Syndicate for obvious reasons. The most objective reason for the name change was to avoid legal issues. Sonic Syndicate got more gigs than ever before after the debut released, and pierced their way through numerous amounts of shows across Sweden.

In 2006, the globally acknowledged and respected label Nuclear Blast became interested in Sonic Syndicate after hearing Eden Fire, and three pre-production tracks from the debut follow up. Shortly thereafter, a deal was signed, and the immediate work of the successor to Eden Fire commenced within the band. Roland was once again called in to provide the band with his powerful vocal capability. This time, however, he was made a fulltime member making Sonic Syndicate a vocalist duo. This dynamic was to be the trademark sound of the band. In 2007 the album Only Inhuman was released via Nuclear Blast. Shortly after the release of Only Inhuman, the band set off for their first Europe tour, out of many to come. There, they discovered the world outside Scandinavia and showcased their sonic based weapons on a much bigger scale. The tours almost overlapped each other during these years. It seemed as if the world was the band’s very own playground during this time. The sequel to the Only Inhuman was unleashed into the world in2008 to follow up on the previous success. The band released the new album, Love and other Disasters, once again through Nuclear Blast.

Love and other Disasters was equally well received. And shortly after the release came further touring to siege new ground. The concept of home was transferred from a fixed point to wherever the band had to put down their travel bags. And somewhere in this surrealistic state of constant touring, the band felt a significant change in Roland. The passion for what we had involved ourselves in seemed to die out and fade from him, and during the end of the summer of 2009 Roland left the band.

Roland was a loved man indeed. His own fans, the fans of the band, and the band itself, adored him. With his departure, Sonic Syndicate was to face a very problematic situation. It was suggested to either disband or get a replacement singer. Roland was replaced with a new singer who was already dedicated to his post at the day of his leaving.

In the fall of 2009, two songs were released to showcase the new singer, Burn This City and Rebellion in Nightmareland. This was a paradox in a way, seeing that Burn This City included the most pop-influenced chorus and song structure yet in the band. In contrast, Rebellion in Nightmareland was one of the heaviest tracks the band had ever had created. Nervous fans asked themselves what direction Sonic Syndicate
would take next. This was the very same question answered for Richard during the writing of the new album.
The band and its fundamental support sources made a decision to walk down the commercial road for the
next album. Richard was not pleased with this outcome, seeing that he started the band with the intention
to create music with a heavy musical style. Because of this, he saw no personal gains in performing
something that he despised. Early in 2010, Richard voiced his concern to his brother Roger, and also
revealed he was going to leave the band when the time was right.
In March 2010, Richard registered the domain WWW.THE-UNGUIDED.COM. Symbolically, The Unguided
was to be the project name for both Richard and Roger’s upcoming musical endeavor. The Unguided
formed because of one main intention—to enforce the classic song writing of Sonic Syndicate. Soon after,
the song writing process commenced in secret, behind closed doors from the rest of the world.
During the fall of 2010, Sonic Syndicate’s fourth album We Rule the Night was released after numerous
delays. It was received with mixed feelings among the fans. Both a singer change and genre change were
a bit too much for the majority. To make matters more complicated, they were completely unaware of a new
challenge they were about to face—the departure of a founding member. Almost exactly two months after
the release of We Rule the Night, Richard announced his exit from Sonic Syndicate.
Strategically, Richard secured ground before his leave. In a newly created blog, he announced immediately
that he was planning to forge a new musical project with his brother Roger, and a mysterious old friend most
people would were quite familiar with. Shortly after, the speculations flooded in, and some were closer to
the truth than others.
The Unguided Era Pt.1 – Nightmareland:
In November 2010, Richard announced the name of his new band, The Unguided, along with a new logo
design. He did not reveal the secret familiar individual, however. Roland was not introduced as the
mysterious, secret band member until the end of November. His newly announced presence in the band
was cleverly featured in the format of a nostalgic video, showing Richard and him working together once
again for the first time since Roland parted from Sonic Syndicate.
Early in January 2011, the debut release from The Unguided was announced with a cover artwork entitled,
Nightmareland. This EP included two songs to showcase the sound of the band. In the cover artwork of
Nightmareland, fans could spot the iron banners from the Eden Fire release. Consequently, this ignited
new hope in fans who missed the old days of Sonic Syndicate.
Close to the end of January 2011, news was announced via Richards’s blog that The Unguided would
head into The Abyss recording studio in Pärlby – Sweden to record Nightmareland. Jonas Kjellgren
would record, produce, and mix the EP. Jonas had previously worked on former Sonic Syndicate albums,
such as Only Inhuman, Love and Other Disasters, and Burn This City EP. It was important to work with
Jonas because he was a very big contributor to the classic sound of Sonic Syndicate.
The titles for the two new songs, Green Eyed Demon and Pathfinder, were also introduced in the same
blog entry.
Early in February 2011, The Unguided released a 40 second sound preview of the two songs recorded.
This was the first public studio recording since 2008 of the vocalist duo Richard and Roland. It was also
revealed that they inked a deal with the Swedish label, Despotz Records, to release Nightmareland. They
also announced their premiere gig at Getaway Rock Festival in Gävle – Sweden to commence on July 7th.
The Unguided hosted a fan tattoo competition where fans all over the world where to ink out The Unguided
symbol and win fine awards. Among the prizes were extremely rare Fallen Angels demos and iconic shirts
from previous band’s music video recording. Three Swedes won the contest as they was first to tattoo the
crest. But skin decoration of unguided related content is still coming in on a regular basis even through the
competition is over.
Early in March 2011, The Unguided and Despotz records introduced a strictly limited edition package for
the fans. It consisted of a special jakebox EP edition of Nightmareland limited and numbered to 616 copies.
The package also included an exclusive The Unguided shirt and a signed poster. Two weeks before the
release day on April 1st, the package sold out.
Along with the wishes of the fans, The Unguided and Despotz decided to print a standard jewel case copy
of Nightmareland, since there was still such a high demand for the sold out edition. The lost and found
graphic artist, J.A.Aranguren, was used to make the layout design for the jewel case. Coincidently,
Aranguren was also the man behind the cover artwork of Eden Fire.
Nightmareland was well received and a good preview of things to come. It sold the most in Sweden,
Germany, USA, UK, Holland, Australia, Norway and Finland (in that order).
The Unguided signed a follow up contract with Despotz to release the debut album. The writing and preproduction
of this particular album began immediately.
The Unguided Era Pt.2 – Hell Frost:
Yet another fan contest was thrown, this time a photograph related one. Where people who had bought the
special 616 edition of Nightmareland where to take photos of themselves in cool locations, wearing the
“I’m one of the 616” shirt. The winner, hailing from Finland got awarded with the benefit of making up a
lyrical theme for the upcoming album (Later resulting in the song My Own Death).
In the middle of May 2011, it was announced via Richard’s blog that a secret unguided event would take
place the symbolic date 20110616. Nothing more specified than just the date, was included in the post.
June 1, 2011, a statement from The Unguided was released that they were not allowed to perform Sonic
Syndicate material on their live shows (the very songs they wrote themselves). Hence of Robin (Richard
and Roger’s younger cousin) not agreeing to sign a license granting Roland to once again be involved with
the material without a contract breach. This results in even more bad blood between family relations and
made way for a lot of disappointed fans that saw their last chance to listen to Sonic Syndicate material with
the original vocal duo via The Unguided.
Upon the anticipated date June 16, 2011 a digital single of an old re-recorded and re-vamped Fallen Angels
song; Betrayer of the code was released. Artwork once again made by the legendary J.A.Aranguren. A
statement was also announced that the recording of The Unguided debut album have started.
An official statement was found on the promotion site tied to the single release:
So this anticipated day finally arrived!
As there’s still a long way to go until the completion of The Unguided debut album (and then we’re not even talking
about a release). We all thought it would be appropriate to release a little something to keep the wolves at bay! This
special song which you are about to hear is one fundamental pillar of what we created our past endeavors on, almost a
decade ago. Not to say a vital fragment of history in our carrier. A song brought back into power under the wings of The
Unguided, accessible to you digitally via iTunes. We give to you: Betrayer of the code! Disassembled, revamped and
put together more powerful than ever before.
The unguided army is mobilizing and growing in numbers day by day. But we are still direct dependent on your generous
support in the project. So keep nursing this project open-handed by purchasing our music digitally or merchandise and
EP via the web-shop. For this special day we have let ourselves manufacture new merchandise which is available here.
Keep supporting, and thanks to everyone that is doing everything in their power to keep the dark heart of this project
// Richard, Roland and Roger
Betrayer of the code made its way to iTunes top 1 on the rock category and bombed in at place 8 on the
overall iTunes chart. A “Betrayer” package consisting of a sign poster and t-shirt where also released and
sold out promptly.
Also in the beginning of June, The Unguided announces a hometown summer show in Falkenberg. Early
June The Unguided official Facebook reaches 5,000 fans. Promo pictures where made off the band and
retouched by Linda Åkerberg which have previously worked with the band in the past.
The premiere gig of The Unguided at Getaway Rock Festival in Gävle was a success. Live musicians
John Bengtsson (Sonic Syndicate) and Henric Carlsson (Cipher System, Lavett) where introduced as
additional musicians. Jonas Kjellgren did FOH on the premiere gig.
Second gig and hometown show of The Unguided in Falkenberg was also well in place, band sounded
even more refined with additional experience and rehearsals. Once again the band utilized John and Henric
as live musicians. A third and last summer show was announced at Malmöfestivalen right after the gig.
At the third show Per Qvarnström (By Night) jumped in on the drums, since John was busy with wedding
plans. The third show was the biggest of the three and very well received. Also Richard’s stand-in harsh
vocalist in Sonic Syndicate; Christoffer Andersson (What Tomorrow Brings) was featured on guest
vocals on the song “Green Eyed Demon”.
In the beginning of August another show was announced, this time at Bandit Boat 12, going out from
Stockholm to Finland. It was also revealed that the recording of the album was complete after several studio
sessions in The Abyss studio – Pärlby during the spring and summer. The effort produced by Jonas
Kjellgren and The Unguided. The bass on the album was recorded by Jonas Kjellgren (Scar Symmetry)
and drums by John Bengtsson (Sonic Syndicate). Roger also produced up the keyboards for the album
with Pontus Hjelm (Dead By April) in PH Studio – Gothenburg. The only thing left on the album was the
actual mixing which would be handled by Jonas Kjellgren.
Additional specs of the album were announced that a limited edition will consist of 11 songs and the retail
version only having 10. Gustavo Sazes will be behind the layout design once again and the actual cover
artwork was made by Kuang Hong. Also J.A.Aranguren’s Betrayer of the code artwork was to be featured
in the booklet.
Early October the album artwork and title was released. Album entitled to Hell Frost as a direct contrast to
Eden Fire. The artwork illustrates a male winged demonic character with green eyes. The character is
holding a heart in his left hand and a sword in his right, portrayed in a frozen landscape. Having The
Unguided symbol decorating his left shoulder pad and on his right leg armor. Eden Fireish skulls were also
placed around the character. It was apparent that the artwork for Nightmareland has been one piece of a
bigger artwork and that the Hell Frost was the second piece completing the full illustration.
Few days later a mail went out to all the 616 Nightmareland customers. The 616 got one day head start to
pre-order the album. The album presented in two special packages. The big package; The Unguided – Hell
Frost – General’s Armaments containing not only a jakebox special edition of the album, but also a t-shirt,
signed poster and an ammo USB-necklace. While the smaller one; The Unguided – Hell Frost – Lieutenant
General’s Armaments only included the 11 track jakebox album. Release date was set to November 30,
24 hours later the promotional site was updated with pre-order links for the both
packages and official statement from the band:
Waited long enough already?
At least the triple R’s in THE UNGUIDED believe so! We must admit, that your patience is indeed blameless and possibly
only overcome by your own curiosity hehe.
There will be no more waiting however, because the time has FINALLY arrived! THE UNGUIDED’s full length debut
album is as of now complete and more than ready to be unleashed upon this wretched world. This album is not only a
product generated by blood tears, joy and hard work from the band and many others, but also by YOU! You enormous
support in our releases so far, did not only buy us all the way through the studio and made us accessible to the best
layout and graphical artists on the market. But it also made us capital strong enough so we could develop and present
even cooler products than previously. Products that is now available for your humble pre-order! So please take your
time and check the options out, and hope you can choose as carefully and delicate, as we did when we assembled
them for you.
The debut album will indeed bring you on a lot of different adventures. Some paths are possibly common ground for
both of us. But we can also guarantee that this album will bring you to places where none of us have ventured together
before. This is the proudest moment in our career as we are about to release what we consider the best effort we’ve
done up to date. For whatever past endeavors we accomplished and for whatever future victories we shall have, it’s
with a lot of honor and pride in our hearts we now give to you:
// Richard, Roland and Roger
Hell Frost related wallpapers was also released on featuring the full illustration of
Nightmareland + Hell Frost together with the lyrical quote: “You are running out of miracles…” While also
the track list for the debut album was featured:
1. Inherit the Earth
2. Phoenix Down
3. Betrayer of the Code
4. My Own Death
5. Serenade of Guilt
6. Collapse my Dream
7. Green Eyed Demon
8. Iceheart Fragment
9. Pathfinder
10. Where the Frost Rose Withers
11. The Miracle of Mind ( bonus song)
On Richard’s blog there’s been rumored Eden Fire references on the album and upon reviewing the track
list, this is now hard facts. The titles Serenade of Guilt (Lament of Innocence), Collapse my Dream
(Enhance my Nightmare), Iceheart Fragment (Soulstone Splinter), Pathfinder (Jailbreak) and Where the
Frost Rose Withers (Where the Black Lotus Grows) where all wordplays on songs of their old debut album
from 2005. From the track list we could also see that Inherit the Earth and Betrayer of the code which is
old Fallen Angels songs from 2002, have been possibly revamped and rerecorded for the effort. There are
also two other Sonic Syndicate references in My Own Death (My Own Life) and Green Eyed Demon
(Blue Eyed Fiend/Red Eyed Friend) that certainly made a few fans smile. The 11 track, only included as a
bonus on the jakebox edition of Hell Frost would be a cover of the Swedish EBM band Spark!’s song
Tankens Mirakel.
Pre-orders of the album flooded the Despotz office and Bandit Rock radio in Sweden made sure to air
Inherit the Earth, whenever they had the chance, on their rotation from October 11th. Shortly after the
album release the band hurried to Gothenburg record a music video, with the legendary producer Patric
Ullaeus for the song; „Phoenix Down“. The performance music video was released via YouTube January
2012. To tie in the video release with something special, there were also a „Ascent of the Ice Phoenix“
Package released via Despotz, including a winter hat, necklace, wristband related to the band and a very
special Phoenix Down EP.
The band didn’t do many live shows 2011 (five) and wanted to kick this up a notch in 2012. There was a
tour planned for April in Germany, Schweiz & Czech Republic, named „Bringing Hell Frost Tour 2012“.
This together with the German band Deadlock. 16 gigs was done totally 2012, thus making the band live
appearance a bit more accessible to the fans. Big festivals like Summer Breeze and Rockstad: Falun
was also included in that batch. Beside their own headlines the band opened for bands like Raubtier, Dead
By April, Dark Tranquillity and Amaranthe during this year.
The really appreciated music video Phoenix Down, which at a more recent date have over half a million
views, made the band even more motivated to make another go for a music video supporting the album.
Phoenix Down probably being the most accessible track on Hell Frost, the band now wanted something a
bit more metal and intellectual for a second video. A poll was made for the fans to select a favorite song of
the album besides Phoenix Down and examining the poll, both the band and the fans agreed on that the
song; Betrayer Of The Code should be the next MV. Being on a small label we didn’t want to burden them
with yet another video budget so we was to try the new (much debated) crowdfunding project „Pledge Music“.
Making a vinyl of Hell Frost available, a exclusive shirt and all kinds of different items from both the past and
more recent time this campaign came to be very successful one. Every item purchase moved us closer to
the budget goal and the band did not only reach the goal but exceeded it with 28%, only with the fans diehard
11 Frames Production was hired to make the music video of Betrayer Of The Code, a tune lyrically based
on Anne Rice’s book „Queen Of The Damned“ the video could obviously not handle any other subject,
than the subject of Anne Rice’s vampires. This was to be a very complex and demanding video recording
and the amount of people that put in their soul and heart to make it happen was overwhelming. The end
result was stunning and the fans got yet another visual perspective of the band during its release 20120919.
An 12 track during the recording of Hell Frost was saved since there was no time to finish it during the
actual session. For the significant date of 20120616 it was announced that the band will release a special
bundle edition of Hell Frost, including one brand new track entitled Deathwalker. A song that was an
collaboration musically between The Unguided and the 80ies euro disco composer king; Peter Johansson
(Ex-Pandora.) Lyrically the song was a collaboration between Richard and a role-playing board game editor
named Paul Wade-Williams. The release of the bundle and the ultimate Hell Frost collection; „Pandora’s
Box“ including 14 CD’s was out autumn 2012.
The Unguided Era Pt.3 – invaZion:
After the summer of 2012, the band started to write new material for the upcoming album. It was
settled that legendary Studio Fredman would handle the mixing / mastering of the album. But
since the band is now located mostly at the west coast but also Richard moved to Stockholm
during the spring of 2012, it was decided that the album will be recorded in different studios
depending on what would be convenient for the individual member.
From a batch of song ideas, two tunes; Singularity and Eye Of The Thylacine, was selected to
be featured on the upcoming EP invaZion. The pre-production of the songs began, and during
this time we did not only record this two songs, but also established the recording formula of the
coming album. When we were satisfied with the pre-production ideas, we sent this in to be mixed
by Jonas Kjellgren to later on be released on the EP via our own label SixOneSix.
Once again the artwork was made by the very talented Kuang Hong, and unlike the wintery, blue
theme on Hell Frost. invaZion had a more post-apocalyptic red tone to it. This two tunes was
released on the apocalyptic date of 20121221. The earth survived and the fans loved the work on
the album. This was certainly just a teaser of the things to come.
The Unguided Era Pt.3 – Fragile Immortality:
During the whole winter, spring and all the way into the summer of 2013 the recording of the album
took place. Digital sound files going criss-cross across Sweden to different studios, slowly making
it closer and closer to album finalization in Studio Fredman.
10 brand new tracks was recorded. Singularity, Eye Of The Thylacine and Deathwalker was
re-recorded, Deathwalker even including the guest vocals of power metal legend Hansi Kürsch
(Blind Guardian.) And the aim was to make the sound a bit more organic and the songs to include
a bit more diversity than on Hell Frost.
A lot of time and effort went into the mixing process to make the band satisfied and hearing the
final result, the choice to use; Studio Fredman was worth its weight in gold. The production turned
out flawless and the band was extremely happy with the result.
During all this recording mayhem, the band also made an Swedish headline tour called „Command
& Conquer“ tour together with the brothers in Smash Into Pieces and dEmotional. So far the
band have done 12 shows during 2013. Also worked their way through great festivals like
Skogsröjet and Sunstorm Festival. Even the first ever Russian/Belarus shows for the band.
During the summer of 2013 the band inked a deal with Austrian label Napalm Records,
negotiations between Napalm and the band had been going on since early 2011 and both parties
felt the time was nigh to make something good out of everything.
A video was recorded for the upcoming album single Inception which is to be released by the end
of 2013. The upcoming album is set to be released in Europe January 2014.
And that’s the story so far.