What happens if you take five metalheads from five different metal bands and put them together for a side project? You’ll probably get an even more extreme metal act, right? Wrong! You get an album full of classic rock, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and danceable music that almost borders on disco!
The whole thing came together one drunken night, when Björn Strid (Vocals, Soilwork) and David Andersson (Guitar, Mean Streak) were on the road together in the States in 2007. The guys bonded over their love for classic rock, such as Kiss, Alice Cooper and others and decided to do something about it. They recruited bassplayer Sharlee D’Angelo (ex King Diamond, Arch Enemy, Spritual Beggars), drummer Jonas Källsbäck (Mean Streak) and keyboard player Richard Larsson (Von Benzo) and got to work. The album’s been a long time coming, but in the year of 2012 it was finally ready for release and it might surprise a few metal fans. For anybody who is only interested in the kind of music these gentlemen normally play then this album will only be a waste of time. But for people with a more varied taste in music, this album should be both fun and somewhat a challenge.
So, of course, I love this album. My taste in music, especially when it comes to hard rock and metal, are a bit on schizophrenic side and according to the band’s Facebook page, so are the tastes of these guys. Their influences go from Kiss, Sweet and Deep Purple to Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen through Boston, Journey and The Temptations. Everything from AOR to hard rock to glam & sleaze to metal to black metal works for me if the music’s good enough and TNFO’s music is more than good enough. It’s brilliant!
Opener “Siberian Queen” is fantastic, the style here moves in late 70’s hard rock with a little twist of both pop and even disco, “California Morning” shows their love for 70’s Kiss with a symphonic undertone, “Glowing City Madness” is early 80’s AOR, “West Ruth Ave” goes in the vein of late 70’s Kiss’ more AOR / pop style and “Translantic Blues” is pure hard rock with a contagious groove. Just when we thought the genres couldn’t mix more, they go all funk on us in the title track and with “1998” they take us back in to early 80’s AOR / West Coast territory and keeps us there for the magnificent “Stella Ain’t No Dove”. The album leaves you with the amazing acoustic driven pop song “Green Hills Of Grumslöv”, how’s that for a killer song title, huh? If you get the digi pack version, you will also get a bonus track in “American High”
To be quite frank, I could name drop every single song title on this album, because there is nothing even remotely weak here and if there are any worries that the album might sound shattered because of all the different styles that are on here, those worries should be dropped immediately, because no matter what direction a song will go, it’s easy to hear the thread that gathers the music together as one unit. This is a totally stunning album and if anyone out there is willing to listen with an open mind and has a diverse taste in music there is a lot to be offered here! Not only are the songs magnificent, there is also a minimum danger of anyone getting tired of this CD in the first place, because this is the kind of record you could listen to back to back, many times and still hear new things in the music. You might not get to hear any of these songs on commercial radio, but that’s only a good thing as this is not dull, fabricated wimp pop. This is high quality classic rock and if you’re into great music per se, you kinda owe to yourself to check this album out.
Jon Wilmenius (9/10)
01. Siberian Queen
02. California Morning
03. Glowing City Madness
04. West Ruth Ave
05. Transatlantic Blues
06. Miami 5:02
07. Internal Affairs
09. Stella Ain’t No Dove
10. Montreal Midnight Supply
11. Green Hills Of Glumslov
12. American High (Exclusive Digipak Bonus Track)