Between, old school death metal, retro first wave black metal, the new wave of traditional heavy metal, and stoner/doom, it’s seems that msucians are trying to reanimate just about every one of metal’s corpses. It’s not different with the glory days of hair metal. The newest Ratt and WASP records are disappointing. Guns n’ Roses doesn’t exist anymore, in effect. Nobody is especially thrilled with Sebastian Bach’s solo work. So where’s a hair metal sympathizer to turn for a bit of decadent nostalgia? The mostly foreign wave of retro glam that started around the mid-2000s would be the answer. In Sweden, it seems, it’s still 1986 and men wear make up with pride. The good news? The musicianship is great this time around. Bands have more or less left the sappy ballads behind and infused much of the music with punkish grit. Yes, there are many who think that this is one era that should stay buried. However, one of the funnest times I’ve had was donning a wig and going to Steel Panther, so those people shouldn’t expect any sympathy, here. Not only are many things that end with “-core” a much bigger disservice to metal but, being a Seattle-ite, I can say there is nothing worse then a bunch of self-loathing grunge musicians moping around pretending like being a rockstar sucks. Moreover, the relative commercial success of these bands shows that there are many others who are hell bent on having their fun. Intrigued? I’ve put together a short digest showcasing a few of the best bands to have made some headway in the scene thusfar.
Crashdïet (Sweden) – This is more along the lines of Skid Row or Hanoi Rocks. They are said to have a big cult following but it certainly hasn’t been among my circle of friends and music lovers. Too bad cause this shit is catchy as fuck.
Dirty Penny (USA) – This band has a sound that’s a little shrill but undeniably fun after a few listens. They almost sound like they have a rockabilly influence and overall are not very metallic but once that chorus hits it’s obvious that’s where they make their money. Very very Motley Crue, who themselves have had little to offer lately besides the title track of their last record. This is my jam.
Black Rain (France) – This is almost an exact clone of very early Queensryche and couldn’t be more righteous. These guys used to be a speed metal band then they decided that hair metal was the way to go. Because of their heavy metal roots, they actually sometimes come across sounding like a less technical Skull Fist. The vocals here are reverb indulgent and out of control. As a general rule, if it’s fun and it shreds, it’ll find it’s way onto this web rag sooner or later. That’s my litmus test. Impeach me.
Panzer Princess (Sweden) – The vocals are dirty. It’s punkish and upbeat with riffing that reminds me of UFO. Wasn’t stoked about the name but they’ve changed my mind with some respectable musicianship and tight execution.
Crazy Lixx (Sweden) – Obscenely underrated. The above is literally one of the most infectious rock/metal tunes I’ve ever heard. If it doesn’t put you in the mood to have fun, you might want to check your pulse. The musicianship is excellent and this band is just too big for this sampler post to contain. More on them later.
Obviously these bands don’t typically warrant an in-depth critical dissection but for those with an affinity for rock n’ roll attitude this stuff is a great time.
Take it sleazy.