A number of Swedish metal musicians have come together to record and release a song as a way of raising awareness and taking action on the topic of bullying and harrassment in schools. Members of such renowned metal bands as MESHUGGAH, NIGHTWISH, SOILWORK, EVERGREY and CLAWFINGER have joined forces in SWEDEN UNITED, a one-off project whose new single, "Open Your Eyes", will be made available on October 11 via Supernova Records.
SWEDEN UNITED is the brainchild of SCARPOINT drummer Erik Thyselius, 33, who launched the project in response to a story he read in 2008 about a three-year-old boy who was repeatedly kicked in the head and violated while at school.
"Many of the people who listen to this kind of music are too young to go to concerts and the idea is to reach out to them by having the people they look up to singing about the subject," Erik tells the Swedish Aftonbladet newspaper.
Another musician involved in the project is 32-year-old SOILWORK singer Björn "Speed" Strid.
"I have worked as a teaching assistant and have seen what happens in our schools," Strid tells Aftonbladet. "It feels really good to put the foot down and speak our minds [on this topic], [because] kids can be cruel."
EVERGREY singer/guitarist Tom S. Englund, 36, had already touched upon this subject before on the band's album "Monday Morning Apocalypse", which was released four years ago.
"When we wrote the songs, I began to examine myself, both as someone who can be seen as a possible bully and as someone who is vulnerable," he tells Aftonbladet. "I concluded that children can be very nasty — simply because they do not understand the consequences of their actions."
Thyselius is hoping to get the message across to students in schools throughout Sweden. SCARPOINT and its management has entered into a partnership with Fryshuset in Stockholm. "We are also planning a campaign in which we will come together and Fryshuset will organize lectures and work actively to reach both the victims and the perpetrators," he says.
"Open Your Eyes" was written by SCARPOINT with Pontus Hjelm, formerly of DEAD BY APRIL, and recorded by CLAWFINGER's Jocke Skog and mixed by Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, PARADISE LOST). Guest singers laid down their parts in various studios across Sweden and the United States. The cover artwork was created by Carlos Holmberg.
Commented SCARPOINT in a statement: "It all begun back in 2008 when we read an article about a young boy from Örebro, Sweden, who was repeatedly physically bullied at school, receiving hits to both his head and his face. He came up with the idea to pay other pupils with his own toys for protection. The school tried to put a stop to it but to no avail and as a result the boys suffered from difficult psychological problems. When we read this, our hearts was shattered into thousands of pieces. We could not imagine that a Swedish school would fail to this degree in regards to protecting this young boy.
"This is just one of many examples that further confirm that the lack of sufficient anti-bullying programs in schools negatively effects our future generations. Not content to just sit around and do nothing, we, SCARPOINT, decided to take action and call some of our friends and try to give something back to the kids that listening to our style of music. We also decided that every single krona/ pound/ dollar/ euro/ yen/ franc/ peso/ rupee/ ruble/ lira, whatever, that is generated by sales of this song that would normally (hopefully) find their way to us will go directly to an anti-bullying campaign for Swedish schools. This project has been fully funded by us, SCARPOINT, along with the generous assistance of all the people involved who gave their valuable time, knowledge and talents to the project, so there is no money needed to be recouped, and it all goes to the cause."
"Open Your Eyes" guest singers (in order of appearance):
* Jens Kidman (MESHUGGAH)
* Jimmie Strimmel (DEAD BY APRIL)
* Anette Olzon (NIGHTWISH)
* Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK)
* Henrik Englund (SCARPOINT)
* Zak Tell (CLAWFINGER)
* Martin Westerstrand (LILLASYSTER)
* Tom S. Englund (EVERGREY)
* Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN)
"Open Your Eyes" audio stream:
Behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from "Open Your Eyes" recording sessions:
With English subtitles: