Hailing from the backwoods of northern Sweden, Hellsingland Underground are an old-fashioned hard rock band with an earthy style who made their critically acclaimed album debut in 2008 and broke into the Top Ten a couple years later with their follow-up effort.
Founded by singer/songwriter Charlie Granberg, who comes from the small town of Ljusdal in the northern county of Hälsingland, the band is also comprised of Mats Olsson (guitar), Peter Henriksson (guitar), Martin Karlsson (bass), Patrik Jansson (drums), and Mathias Stenson (piano). Influenced by classic rock acts such as Neil Young
, Bob Dylan
, and Appetite for Destruction-era Guns N' Roses
, Granberg left Ljusdal for Stockholm at age 18 in hopes of finding success as a rocker and lived there in the capital for several years before returning to his hometown in 2006. During his time in Stockholm, Granberg came to know Olsson and Jansson, who for nearly a decade were members of the hard rock band Maryslim
. The guitarist and drummer eventually split from Maryslim
to team up with Granberg, who had written a bunch of songs and was looking to start a band, and it wasn't long before Hellsingland Underground took shape as a quintet. Upon founding their own label, Killed by Records
, Hellsingland Underground made their eponymous album debut in 2008. The album garnered critical acclaim and spawned a couple hit singles, "Slipping Through the Hands of Time" and "Northern Country Boy." Released a couple years after the band's debut album, the follow-up effort, Madness & Grace (2010), was a blockbuster commercial success, reaching number six on the Swedish albums chart. Following the release of their third album, 2012's Evil Will Prevail, the band entered a period that found them at odds with their management as tours and bookings suddenly fell through and contractual disputes marred their momentum. By this time keyboardist Stenson had been replaced by Henning Winnberg and the band soldiered on to begin sessions for their fourth album, a purported concept album titled Understanding Gravity. Initial studio sessions in early 2015 were scrapped and the band opted instead to rent out a 16th century castle in Sörmland to complete their work. The departure of second keyboardist Winnberg opened the door for new recruit Thomas Petterson who took his place midway through recording. After numerous trials and tribulations, Hellsingland Underground wrapped up their fourth effort and Understanding Gravity was released in the spring of 2016. ~ Jason Birchmeier & Timothy Monger, Rovi