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'Back On The Streets'
(AOR Heaven)
Release Date: 2nd December 2013

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus


In the year 2000 a debut album was unleashed, cunningly titled 'Unleashed', from the masterminds of two gentlemen called Mats Levén and Martin Kronlund. Levén is associated with impressive acts like Therion and Candlemass whilst Kronlund has been busy wearing his Producer attire for Joe Lynn Turner and Tom Galley's Phenomena amongst other activities.

They were moderately well received and released a second album called 'In Control' in 2002 to capitalise on the momentum. That focus and energy was distracted as both Levén and Kronlund became busy with other areas of their creative output, and before you knew it, we're eleven years on.

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So what does their third album have to offer? That's not a rhetorical question as it happens due to the ten tracks they have collected here, with the title track providing a highlight instantly.

What we have here is a solid group of tracks in the traditional European Hard Rock mould. The guitars chug along with heavy intent as 'Footsteps On The Moon' breaks the silence and announces the start of the album. It's a slow burner to be sure and leads us in to 'Can't Face Tomorrow' with a prominent Hammond organ from Dan Helgesson which spices it up nicely.

'Higher' inputs some edgier verses which contrast with the usual collaboration of instrumentation, but the song is let down by an average chorus. 'The Fall' is an interesting song as it builds momentum and then let's the sonic result wilt creating an up and down motion. Listen out for a flowing instrumental section with some tasty guitar.

The continuation from the feisty title track which follows is maintained by the initial groove of 'Fired'. The chorus is smooth and well delivered; all in all it completes what is a good song.

'Get Up' lacks the cohesive quality and sparkle shown on the previous tracks but does carry energy which then sets us up for 'Start A Fire'. With good intentions intact, 'Start A Fire' showcases some tasty guitar working a call and response with the organ but ultimately doesn't start a fire for this reviewer.

Dogface then dish up a cover of The Osmonds classic 'Crazy Horses' which works out well before we reach the grand finale in the form of 'Freaking Out'.

Lyrically, this song represents the feelings and observations that result from a trip that is taken whilst on LSD. Mixing elements of 'Strawberry Fields Forever' by The Beatles with their brand of European Hard Rock, this track is a real joy. United harmonious vocals lift the straight forward chorus which only goes to add a bow to the wrapping on this song.

The musicianship is competent, performances are on the money and their experience has proved invaluable in the execution of the songs, but it really doesn't push the envelope sufficiently as far as I'm concerned. The word laborious conjures some unpleasant vibes, but it's a word that I would apply to 'Back On The Streets' in places.

No matter how many times I give this album a spin, it rarely blows my mind and certainly doesn't add anything new to the sub-genre.

1. Footsteps On The Moon
2. Can't Face Tomorrow
3. Higher
4. The Fall
5. Back On The Streets
6. Fired
7. Get Up
8. Start A Fire
9. Crazy Horses
10. Freaking Out

Mats Levén - Vocals
Martin Kronlund - Guitars
Mikael Carlsson - Bass
Perra Johansson - Drums

Guest Musicians:-
Dan Helgesson – Hammond Organ
Henrik Thomsen – Additional Bass
Imre Daun – Additional Drums
David Reece - Backing Vocals

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