Here's a band with wacky origins! Its originator, guitarist/ bassist/ drum programmer Peter Lundh had been one of the forces behind a Swedish Rock band competition which had bands attending from all over the country, but when a third season announced itself (for the year 2008), he decided to cop out because he felt it would be too much work.
Still, having made that decision, he decided to start up a band of his own and send in an incognito contribution (to avoid a bias from the deciding jury) to the contest. Having worked as a session musician with keyboardist Leif Gyllenberg in a project called Project Trap, he called the latter and told him about the idea. Leif like the idea real well, so the two swiftly set to putting together a demo. Still, a couple of key positions still had to be filled, and the tricky part was to get in people without any connection to the competition. Leif knew that singer Johan Engström was available, and the latter was also fond of the idea. At the time, Peter was still working with Lars J. "Fungrim" Nilsson, and having heard about the sneaky project, he asked to join as bassist. As the last component of the "competing band", Dick Björklund was contracted to sit in on the drums.
When push came to shove, the band which was rather well received, did not get through to the competition's finals, and Leif, Peter and Johan made the decision to continue writing songs together for a full-length album. Eventually Johnny Rosengren from Dutch Art Performance Production got to hear some of the songs, and a deal was made to release an album's worth of material. A recording session was scheduled, and production was started with the same line-up as during the competition. But the first recordings, which were done in a rehearsal room doubling as recording studio were somewhat disappointing and didn't quite meet the band's expectations. So the band decided to re-record everything with programmed drums and using Leif's studio in Hässelby, with Peter producing it. The drums were programmed beat-by-beat, using midi recordings from an actual drummer as a template, and this therefore took quite some time getting accomplished. On top of which the other band members' schedules were also found to be somewhat conflicting...and therefore the recording took quite a lot of time overall.
But the end result is really excellent. I mean, I have trouble thinking of the drums on the album as being programmed, really! Generally speaking, what we have here is a varied riff-oriented Hard Rock band, which on the one side occasionally flirts with Metal, and on the other side with Classic Rock. Of course, there IS the obligatory power ballad as well. Engström has that specific type of powerful and warm voice, which would make him a prime contender in a I Like Dio competition, but in the calmer moments (the aforementioned power ballad, "Let Love Live") he doés sound quite different!
Regretfully, in my Internet search for full-length audio by this band, I came back with meager results. No music can be found on the band's own website (www.) grand60.com (in fact, it's a mere presentation of band logo, photos of the 4 members, info of first single being out, and links to the band's facebook and the album's page on their label – both also not sporting any audio what-so-ever), so I'm afraid you'll have to make due with the 30-second samples usually provided by your trusted online sales sites (the album being available through iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon – links via the album's page on the label's website). Nevertheless, a very nice album worthy of your attention if you're into Classic Rock with a modern touch and...thàt type of great vocals!