Swedish-born Anders “LA” Rönnblom, best known as the founder / songwriter for Killer Bee and X-Romance, and a member of Wolfpakk, has launched a new project dubbed Social Disorder. Call it a labour of love, as it features Rönnblom opening up his heart and soul. The debut album, Love 2 Be Hated, takes the listener on a journey through his life including his battle with alcoholism, personal demons, and his way back, all set to a backdrop of music inspired by his earliest influences. Rönnblom didn’t take this journey on his own , however, chosing to enlist the help of a who’s-who of rock and metal greats, many of whom he has a personal connection to including Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake), Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint), Dave Stone (Rainbow), Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate), Shawn Duncan (DC4) and Leif Ehlin (Perfect Plan). Social Disorder’s voice is provided by Thomas Nordin, a previously undiscovered Swedish singer who delivers Rönnblom’s songs with power and grit that perfectly captures the era of classic no-nonsense rock.
According to Rönnblom, Social Disorder were never planned to be what it turned out to be. As he got deeper into the songwriting he contacted Tracii Guns, Rudy Sarzo and Killer Bee bandmate Shawn Duncan about taking part in the recordings. Even though they are his songs and it’s his story, “Love 2 Be Hated” is a team effort, with everyone involved adding their own touch to the songs. In fact, it was important for Rönnblom that everyone involved put themselves into each song. “I laid down the basic tracks,” Rönnblom says of Social Disorder’s origins, which came from an innocent and honest place. “I downloaded a metronome app on my phone, plugged in my headphones, pressed record on my phone and counted myself in and laid down the guitars. I did the same thing with the bass. It was pretty basic. I played all the rhythm guitars, but the leads and the fills are all those guys adding their parts to the songs. Basically they were given the recipe and they added the spice to it. At the same time they never really changed a thing, and that’s the beauty of it. I’m so grateful everything turned out the way it did.”
“Love 2 Be Hated” showcases the talents of Thomas Nordin, whom Rönnblom had never heard of before in spite of the fact they live in the same Swedish town. The connection was made thank to Perfect Plan keyboardist Leif Ehlin, who claimed to know a vocalist with a voice reminiscent of Joe Lynn Turner, and the rest is history. Rönnblom laid down his initial vocal idea with the help of Killer Bee bandmate Brian “Bee” Frank and provided Nordin with “strangled cat” demo vocals to establish the melodies, with the simple advice that Nordin should make the songs his own. To that end, Rönnblom explained what the lyrics were about so Nordin could stand for what he was singing. The results were awe-inspiring. “The first song we did was ‘Dreaming’ and he nailed it,” says Rönnblom. “Then he sent me ‘Sail Away’ and he wasn’t that comfortable with it in the beginning, but I told him to change what he needed to change to make it work for him. When I heard the backing vocals on the song I was blown away, Thomas he was afraid they sounded too gospel. I told him ‘No, I love it….” and we kept them. I’m so blown away by everybody that played on the album because they performed the songs the way I heard them in my head.”
While Rönnblom wrote the lyrics to capture the events of his life in music, “Love 2 Be Hated” is not and should not be regarded as a concept album. The goal was to have his story touch people and give the listener something they can relate to. “The lyrics are open to interpretation, absolutely,” says Rönnblom. “This is my story, sure, but if that story draws people in and makes them say ‘Hey, this could be me…’ and they take away something inspirational or positive from these songs I couldn’t be happier.”
Read our review here.