Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crashdiet-The Savage Playground

Frontiers Records

Having heard the single "Cocaine Cowboy" I really thought I had a general idea how this album would end up sounding. How I thought I could guess that given that all of the band's previous albums have sound different then each other I don't rightly know. Even so I thought this one would be a straight walk along the lines of the band's familiar fusion of glam metal and punk rock. It turns out I had no idea how the band's forth album would sound. Here's another occasion where I gladly admit that I was wrong. First off it should be noted that this is the first time around the band has had the same line-up on back to back albums. There's something to be said for that kind of consistency of course. Even more Simon Cruz is the first singer to be featured on back to back Crashdiet' albums and that little bit of consistency goes a long way towards making "The Savage Playground" sound all the better. To be fair I'm still not sure if this one is as good as their first album. That was one killer debut though so it would be hard to top it. But the thing is the band's last album was a really good mash-up of sleaze/glam/punk/metal so this has been a fairly consistent band when it comes to releasing good material. Sure, "The Savage Playground" might not stack up to the group's debut, but it's probably my new, next favorite album so that says something. It's strengths lie in the fact that it's not the same song over and over again. "The Savage Playground" features some of the most diverse material you're likely to hear from a "glam" band making it a fun listen. Over the course of 13 tracks this Swedish band takes advantage of having  the same singer/same band twice in a row by getting adventurous. Sure, so far each new Crashdiet album has been different. They have all struck a different pose. This one though feels MORE different. The single "Cocaine Cowboy" suggested a truly sleazy rock outing. So thinking that the band would play to that crowd would be a fair assumption. The thing is though this is a band who is influenced by a lot of different bands. Kiss, Guns N' Roses, Skid Row, G.G. Allin, Poison, Ramones, W.A.S.P., Motörhead, Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe all come into play. Take the opener "Change The World". It reminded me somewhat of a mixture of the first two Skid Row albums. It's quite a far ways off from the sleaze of "Cocaine Cowboy". Then there's "Anarchy" that, despite what the title might suggest, is almost straight-up hard rock. "Circus" actually finds the band in a headbanging mood while "Got A Reason" is a street rocker you could almost imagine being a punk anthem if it had more of a raw twist. "Snakes In Paradise" is early Vince Neil and company before "Dr. Feelgood" ruined them. "Drinkin' Without You" might be a song that hits a little too close for comfort for me, but it's also a song that sounds different then all the others. It's hard rock/heavy metal with an almost AOR gone punk vibe. Weird but cool. That's the beauty of this album. It's never the same thing twice. Even the last three albums all sound a bit different. "Damaged Kid" and "Excited" might be both sides of the same coin (this is the unmistakable sound of Crashdiet after all!), but they do enough to make them both enjoyable in their own right. These 13 tracks wrap up with the strong number "Garden Of Babylon". While it's not the only song on this album to show off the inventive guitar playing of Martin Sweet (as his playing is top-notch and creative through-out this album) it's a telling statement that Crashdiet are not afraid to get their hands dirty trying new things. At a little over 7 minutes it's as close to epic metal as Crashdiet could possibly get. It should go without saying that bassist Peter London and drummer Eric Young are also as good as ever not only on a track like "Garden Of Babylon", but on every track here. These guys make it all sound so easy as they transition from one new sound to the next. When you have a band that is as talented as this band is though maybe it does come that easy. With the band set to go on a worldwide tour in support of this new album (their first such adventure!) maybe Crashdiet will finally be able to truly break out among the pack. They have four albums to their name now and, despite the tragedies, sound as ready as ever to make their mark. Here's hoping they have nothing but success as they deserve it.

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