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April 12, 2024

HORNDAL‘s third full-length, Head Hammer Man, has debuted on Sweden’s national music charts, Sverigetopplistan, at number one in the Hard Rock, Physical Releases and Vinyl categories. On HORNDAL‘s latest full-length the band share the previously untold real life story of Alrik Andersson, a 1900s union leader from their eponymous hometown and his role in The Great Strike.

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Horndal, Sweden, 1909.
The Great Strike rages across the entire country. Local union uprisings are crushed one by one. But a small group stands defiant – the ironworkers of Horndal. A group led by 27-year-old Alrik Andersson.

The steel company’s struggle against the striking workers had led to starvation, famine and mass evictions of families – and was on the brink of sparking a civil war. Workers from all over the country traveled in solidarity to Horndal to fight alongside the unionized, against the Swedish military, who had been sent there with bayonets drawn. To avoid starting a war, the Prime Minister eventually ordered the soldiers to lay down their weapons and the company executives to stop evicting the starving families.

Alrik fought tirelessly for his fellow workers’ jobs, and was successful – but this came at a price. The company executives ensured that Alrik was blacklisted throughout Sweden, so that he could not find employment anywhere in the country. He was forced into exile and fled across the Atlantic on an overloaded ship with his wife and two small children. He ended up in Chicago, where he found work at a steel mill and was given the title – Head Hammer Man. He worked there until his death in 1970, never mentioning his life in Sweden to anyone. No one in Sweden, or even in Horndal remembers him.

Head Hammer Man is a tribute to Alrik Andersson, a chance for his story to live on, over one hundred years after he took a stand for the people of Horndal. His tale is woven throughout the most ambitious, inspired and expansive compositions that Horndal have created to date. Not only inspired by this one remarkable man, the band have drawn influence from all corners of their record collections. From Pugh Rogefeldt to Autopsy, Wipers to Judas Priest, Hawkwind to Mercyful Fate, Don Cherry to Voivod. A riff borrowed from Sparks here, a solo borrowed from Jake E Lee there. Brass arrangements alongside layered harmony guitars. John Barry’s The Persuaders theme next to King Crimson and The Jesus Lizard. Black Sabbath and The Shadows, Slayer and Sonic Youth.

The album was recorded in various locations across Sweden, including at the legendary Atlantis Metronome studios – including Swedish icons ABBA, whose very own grand piano is featured on Head Hammer Man. The album was co-produced by Anton Sundell, mixed by Simon Söderberg at Mayfire Studio, and mastered by Magnus Lindberg and Redmount Studios. Horndal invited their good friends to add to the album’s sonic landscape; Martin Hederos (The Soundtrack of Our Lives etc) plays organs and Moogs, whilst Henrik Palm (In Solitude, Ghost, Viagra Boys) contributed two hair raising guitar solos. The Head Hammer Man himself even makes a cameo with excerpts from a speech included in the title track. History may have forgotten him but Horndal never will.