Johan Edlund

Sweden Rock Festival - 2010

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

“Intriguing” I believe my first thought was when I read that Johan Edlund from Tiamat would perform as a solo-artist at Sweden Rock. Not only solo, but with an acoustic show. Not only acoustic, but singing in Swedish!
It may also have been something in the lines of “Oh cool, this I gotta see!”, I can’t remember now…

Having run from the Rock Stage where Sabaton were playing and making my way up to the front in the much smaller Rockklassiker tent to see Johan Edlund’s world premiere in Swedish, the contrast between the former's over-the-top joyful power metal and the latter's completely stripped down melancholia was striking, to say the least. It therefore took me a short time to adjust to this completely different musical environment, but when done it was well worth it!
Edlund bared his soul to us for an acoustic hour, where he was sided by Tiamat friend Anders Iwers, also on acoustic guitar, and a man called Gustav (if I remember correctly, can’t place him) on keyboard. For some songs Edlund was also playing guitar, others he just sang in, and for one song he let Iwers take over vocal duties as well as he himself spent the time blowing soap-bubbles from the edge of the stage.

Most of the songs I can’t name as they were unknown to me, but I can tell you that a beautiful rendition of Cain was played, and as the finale Song Of Freedom (again, recognised, but have a hard time placing it) was played. A song with the chorus “Vi ska göra så att himlarna faller” displayed a classic Swedish ballad tradition filled by a melancholy mood, as did several others. It is possible that there were more Tiamat songs in the set, but I must confess myself unable to locate them if there were, as they would have been very much altered in their appearance, and possibly even translated; I have seen a Swedish language version of Until The Hellhounds Sleep Again, and there is a chance it was in there somewhere, but I can’t say for certain. It all blended into one continuous stream, which went like shivers down my spine...

Haunting, mellow and poetic were all words which came to my mind as I listened to Johan Edlund’s performance. As the true artist that he is, he managed to change the sunny day into pitch-black night in the small tent-stage; and when I re-emerged my senses were bewildered, as it was obviously still day, and Sabaton were still cheerfully playing on the much larger stage next to me.
The chilling gloom of what had just transpired remained within me however, like the after effects of a dream you can’t seem to completely let go...

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