It was less than a year ago when Swedish Classic Rock band Prins Svart (Prince Black) released their self-titled debut album. As a guy who has issues with music sung in Swedish, I had no language problems after only one spin of said album – I was completely floored. Not that Prins Svart are revolutionary by any means, their brand of 70’s smelling Hard Rock in the vein of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Rainbow has been done on numerous occasions before. But the songs, those songs were in the highest of quality and the members are all world-class musicians which makes originality secondary. Fact is, that these guys use Swedish lyrics makes them stand out from all the other 70’s retro acts out there so said lyrics actually works to the band’s benefit. And it must be pointed out that Prins Svart do have their own identity.
That we get a follow-up out in the stores this quickly is something we’re not spoiled with these days – this is something that was common back in the 70’s – but one always wonders if the follow-up might be a rushed affair when it do happen. On the other hand, Prins Svart’s 70’s approach also means that it’s better to have few songs all killer instead of a whole lot of them but with the occasional filler involved. The last record contained only seven tracks and this one comes with eight so fifteen tracks in a shorter amount of time might not be that many any way. But since the debut kicked my ass in so many ways and reviews were giving the band high scores most of the time, this record comes with some expectations. Also, would the band make the same album all over again, like a carbon copy musically, or will the new record develop their sound without losing the band’s identity?
That question is answered right on the spot by opening track and leading single “Maskinen” (The Machine), a stompy, kicking and quite rough rocker with a slightly progressive touch where plain 70’s Hard Rock meets uptempo, modern Opeth-like melodies and a quite striking refrain that’s catchy albeit not radio friendly at all. Touches of Metal also appears here and there and the whole tune is where Prins Svart holds on to their Classic Rock but takes it one step further. It do sound just like Prins Svart but also different. Brilliant stuff. “Jag Kommer Hem” (I’m Coming Home) takes a slower pace, heavy and a bit doomy, a mid-paced belter that holds some laid-back verses with a darker edge that soon bursts into some fierce Zep-like riffing. The refrain goes into heavier and rawer areas where influences from both Black Sabbath and Deep Purple turns up. It’s 70’s Hard Rock for sure but with nods towards Heavy Metal even and the guitar solo spot branches out touching 70’s Prog Rock before the tune gets back to where it was. Great stuff.
“Under Mina Sista Dagar” (During My Last Days) starts out laid-back and earthy where the verses makes me think of Swedish rocker Thåström, mainly because of guitarist Henrik Bergqvist who took over lead vocals for that part, something he shared with bassist Thomas Thorberg, who takes the lead vocals in the refrain. It’s a raunchy and crunchy 70’s style rocker, attitude-laden and energetic with lots of punch but never without hooks. Another killer. “Vargen Av Oss Två” (The Wolf Of Us) comes on strong with a heavy and fat groove, almost funky in a Deep Purple Mk III kind of way. It’s both ballsy and beefy but also with a hooky and very catchy refrain. It’s not pop-metal hit-friendly at all but it sure damn sticks. Rootsy Classic Rock with memorable melodies all over – very good. “Melandi” is a one minute plus instrumental guitar piece, softly spoken and stripped and beautiful, a way into the next track…
…which is “En Eftermiddagsdröm” (An Afternoon’s Dream), a slow Blues on the ballad side, dark, rootsy and down-to-earth, very much stuck in the early 70’s. It do fattens up some and becomes more intense and punchy but even though heaviness is brought in, the tune remains on the laid-back road. A warm, soulful and poignant tune – very good. “Så Verklig” (So Real) is more upbeat and hard-rocking, both heavy and raw but also with a slight pop-feel in the striking and effective melodies. It’s catchy, in-your-face and maybe a more obvious single choice than “Maskinen” so if it’s ever a single, it might even sport them some air-play. Great song. Closing track “Stridens Larm” (The Battle’s Alert) starts out on a softer note, laid-back but with a darker and melancholic atmosphere but it soon takes a more uptempo route, big on groove and it goes into a fat, rhythmic swing before it slows down again and goes back into bluesy territory. Towards the end, they rock things up again and the song closes on an uptempo and rowdy note. An awesome way to say goodbye for now!
If you have read this far, you know that this album, just like the debut, will get a high score. Yes, I love this and just like on the debut, Prins Svart has brought some amazing songs to the table without even a tiny trace of a filler in sight. I can rave on and on about how brilliant they are as musicians, how stripped, raw and organic the production is, but without awesome songs that just screams of longevity, all that stuff wouldn’t have mattered at all. I guess it goes without saying that if the 70’s was never to your liking, Prins Svart might not be your thing but I still would recommend this to lovers of any kind of Rock music. Again, non-swedish speaking rock fans might be puzzled by the lyrics but, if you’re into this kind of music, I can almost guarantee you’ll be enjoying this record despite that. For me, this album will without a doubt be around for the top 10 albums of 2019 but I do hope that the album’s title (Not Here To Stay, in English) isn’t prophetic.
More Prins Svart reviews:
2. Jag Kommer Hem
3. Under Mina Sista Dagar
4. Vargen Av Oss Två
6. En Eftermiddagsdröm
7. Så Verklig
8. Stridens Larm