Release Date: 3rd March 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
They hail from the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm, and thanks to an abundance of requests by their loyal fan-base have regrouped and while rejuvenated, crank up the Rock baby!
A busy duration from 1993 to 1995 saw these melodic Hard Rockers tear up their native country and further afield while touring alongside the likes of Therapy?, Motörhead and D-A-D. Two studio albums were left over as the gravestones of testimony to their existence when they called it a day back then, but now they reveal their next step which they call 'Refueled'. Is this more than an appropriate title for an album, and something that goes deeper or is it merely coincidence?
The first thing I noticed when the music was blaring away in my ears on this new album was how awesome the sound was. Great co-producing credits go to Oscar Ammer for capturing a tremendously complementary sound. What about the songs though I hear you cry?
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On the first rotation of this virtual disc of demons I hear standout moments like 'Hardcore MF Heartattack' and the first single 'Monster' is pretty good too. While I remember, I must share with you when Myke Gray from the UK based Rockers Skin formed Red, White & Blues, the lead vocalist was none other than Matti Alfonzetti who is the front-man of Skintrade. Thought you'd be interested in that if you didn't already know of such things.
'Refueled' is an interesting listening experience. With the evidently cool sound and the feel of something that should really blow your socks off, the songs don't reach deep enough for hooks. There is power and punch with songs like 'Pay In Blood' or 'Look Me In The Eye' but I didn't get the impression that there was anything extra special waiting to be discovered.
I'm almost tempted to say that this is all show and bravado but is in some ways disposable. But even now that sounds really harsh. 'Refueled' isn't a bad album and would certainly be worthy of your time, it's just that they don't explore anything other than what feels like their comfort zone. Maybe that is what Skintrade are all about?
'Liar' is a corker that made my butt wiggle and the reflective, yet powerful 'Close My Eyes' soars in to the yonder on cushions made of jagged crystal wings. 'Getting Away With Murder' contains a tasty riff or two and the chorus has a confident swagger which sounds effortless but nevertheless effective.
'Mountain' does very little for me despite the prolific nature of its upbeat tempo. This is followed by 'Been To The Bottom' which saunters along on a laid back aura for the most part.
Joining lead vocalist Alfonzetti are Hakan Masen Persson pounding the drums and providing vocals; Håkan Calmroth covering bass duties and Stefan Bergström riffing on guitar and adding his vocals. Their musicianship and chemistry are not in dispute as they plough their way competently through 'Worse Than Wasted' and 'Dying In Your Arms' married with that fabulous sound, but I'm not jumping around with the buzz of being exposed to something that reaches a little further in to hook-laden waters.
They have swagger; they have virtuosity; they have power and they have experience. What they don't have on this album as far as my ears are concerned is a true classic album. Would you pelt me with rotten tomatoes if I said this was a near miss?
Pay In Blood
Hardcore MF Heartattack
Close My Eyes
Getting Away With Murder
Been To The Bottom
Worse Than Wasted
Dying In Your Arms
Look Me In The Eye