Crashdiet band photo 2011

CRASHDÏET – The Savage Playground

Crashdiet - The Savage PlaygroundSo they finally did it. Make two albums in a row with the same line-up (read singer), that is. Crashdiet hasn’t had the easiest of careers, that’s for sure. They more or less reinvented the sleaze / glam scene back in 2005 with their Chris Laney / Anders Ringman / Grizzly / Tysper produced debut album Rest In Sleaze. Back then this kind of big hairsprayed, make up ridden pop-metal glamsters weren’t looked on as anything worthwhile (in fact it still isn’t and has never been) and the hip hop influenced nu-metal was still riding high in the charts, but today it is more accepted and have spawned lots of bands in the same vein. However, bad luck was laughing in their faces when founder, vocalist and good friend Dave Lepard committed suicide in 2006. They guys decided quickly that with that, the band was done, but luckily for the fans, the band shortly decided to carry on the flame with a new singer. Finnish vocalist Oliver Twisted was chosen as the replacement and the band released the oh so underrated album The Unattractive Revolution (2007) only for Twisted to quit after the tour to concentrate on his own band Reckless Love, now under the Oliver Herman moniker.

Enter: Simon Cruz, a spiky mohawk haired wild man with the perfect voice and attitude for a band like Crashdiet. With him Martin Sweet (guitar), Peter London (bass) and Eric Young (drums) released 2010’s brilliant Generation Wild that hit home with both the critics and fans and some extensive touring to follow and it turned out to be their most successful effort to date. That did put a great deal of pressure on the guys for its follow-up, now a good three years later. The first single of the album, “Cocaine Cowboys” promised a lot and bode real well for the upcoming release, a brilliant song, but a pretty brave move to go with as a first single. The song isn’t at all as direct as their previous singles, but in my book it is really awesome. The song is an album track more than a single which makes it really cool that it has gone down so well and it takes guts to go with a move like that. Thumbs up! However, the album really could have had a better start. “Change The World” isn’t bad by any means, quite the contrary, but the fact is, the song is too dark for an opening track, it would have gone down better as a song # 3 or 4. Third song “Anarchy” is great though, aggressive and raw, yet catchy, “California” is pure pop and another out-of-the-box move for the band – very good, and “Circus” is a really good old Crashdiet killer, more like the sound we’re used to. “Sin City”, however, is a song I’m not too sure about. It’s too ordinary and really goes in one ear and out the other, but things hits the right path again with “Got A Reason” and “Drinkin’ Without You”, both very good hard rock pop Crashdiet style. The latter starts out pretty weak, but grows on you big time already by second verse. “Snakes In Paradise” takes on a different beat, but it’s still a brilliant melodic rock track and “Excited” is pure AOR, but in a raw way, again a brave move that totally works. Best of all, though, is “Garden Of Babylon”, a heavy, long, dark and epic track that holds some really cool eastern influences. This is the first time I have heard them pull a stunt like that, but they so get away with it. It’s actually really impressive. The album finishes with “Liquid Jesus”, a fast, punky hard rock track that hold influences by both pop and even some gospel.

I would say that Crashdiet has really hit home with their 4th album. Still, I can’t find the direct hits that they usually write, like “In The Raw”, “Falling Rain”, “Generation Wild” or “Chemical” and I kind of miss that, but at the end of the day it is somehow really cool that they haven’t done that this time. With the raw production and the musically diversity, the boys have stepped out of their comfort zone with no security blankets to hide under and that is, to use an already over used word here, brave. I guess they do know that they are running the risk of scaring some old fans away, but hopefully they will gain new ones and this album might shut the traps of some of their worst critics. The album might not punch you out by the first listen – or the second – but for people with some patience, this album should turn out as a piece of music that could join them for a long and entertaining musical ride. There is more depth to their sound here and it fits them very well. I wouldn’t say that the guys have grown up, but to mature gracefully could only be a good thing, even when you do the glam / sleaze scene. I have always liked this band, but I believe that they only get better and better with each release. The revolution might have been unattractive, but now that the wild generation has joined a playground of savagery, it’s time for all of us to come out and play. Cheers!

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)


01. Change The World
02. Cocaine Cowboys
03. Anarchy
04. California
05. Lickin Dog
06. Circus
07. Sin City
08. Got A Reason
09. Drinkin Without You
10. Snakes In Paradise
11. Damaged Kid
12. Excited
13. Garden Of Babylon
14. Liquid Jesus (Bonus Track)

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