The long-haired headbangers who comprise Backdraft look like a Southern rock outfit of the ‘70s; they look like they could be members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, the Outlaws, or Molly Hatchet. But Backdraft's members aren't from Georgia, Alabama, Texas, or Mississippi -- they're from Sweden, and the band wasn't formed until the late ‘90s. And even though ‘70s Southern rock has been a strong influence on the band, they're far from an exact replica of that era's Dixie rockers. Backdraft's rock is actually post-‘80s alternative metal; like Alabama Thunder Pussy, Brand New Sin, and Hammerlock, Backdraft plays alternative metal with a strong Southern rock influence. Not to be confused with an electronica act that recorded for the 3 Lanka label in the ‘90s, this Backdraft has been influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, the Outlaws, and Molly Hatchet, and the Scandinavian headbangers have also been influenced by punk, Black Sabbath, Corrosion of Conformity, and various alt metal, so the listener is getting a variety of ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s influences, along with nothing but English lyrics -- like a lot of Scandinavian rockers, Backdraft writes in English exclusively.
Backdraft was formed in Stockholm in 1997, when lead singer Jonas Åhlén (formerly of the Swedish thrash metal band Anticipation) started working with guitarist Robert Johansson. They soon added drummer Fredrik Liefvendahl, aka Trizze Trash (who went on to join the band Grand Magus) and a second guitarist, David "Snejken" Nordlander, to the lineup. Originally known as "Morningwood," the band recorded a demo in 1998. After changing their name to Backdraft and going through some lineup changes, they recorded an EP called The Goddamn Man EP in 2000; by that time, Mats Rydström was on bass and Liefvendahl had been replaced by drummer Niklas Matsson. The Swedes recorded their first full-length album, Here to Save You All, in early 2001, when the five-man lineup consisted of Åhlén on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Johansson on electric lead and rhythm guitar, Nordlander on electric lead and rhythm guitar, Rydström on electric bass, and Matsson on drums and percussion. Here to Save You All was released in Sweden by Lunasound Recording later that year, although the album didn't come out in the United States until 2003 (when it was given American distribution thanks to the Philadelphia-based Abstract USA). ~ Alex Henderson