You know the times when you get an impression of a band and refuse to give them a fair chance to prove yourself wrong? No? Well, that happens to me from time to time and sometimes I prove myself right and sometimes I walk away with my tail between my legs. Swedish melodic hard rockers Adrenaline Rush are such a band for me. When they released their self-titled debut album back in 2014, I only saw a video once, decided it was not for me and didn’t really think about the band again. As they say, shit happens! Adrenaline Rush started back in 2012 when singing bombshell Tåve Wanning got together with one Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, WET, Ammunition, Nordic Union) to write songs for an album. Mårtensson was never meant to be in the band so the search for musicians started in Stockholm at the same time and soon the band was completed by guitarists Ludwig Turner (Reach) and Alexander Hagman, bass player Soufian Ma’Aui (ex-Reach) and drummer Marcus Johansson (Reach) and the five-piece then recorded the band’s debut album. Why my interest for the band was at minimum, I don’t know myself – I mean, they do play a kind of hard rock I usually enjoy and the band is full of really good musicians. Also, not to try sound sexist, but as a guy, it never hurts when the singer is quite the looker either. But after watching the band’s brand new video for “Love Like Poison”, I decided to give them a break this time around. And for this album there have been some line-up changes as well. Ludwig and Soufian has left the band and were replaced by Joel ‘Fox’ Appelgren (ex- Dynazty) on bass and guitarist Sam Söderlindh.
The album kicks off with “Adrenaline” and the tune is quite a rush (pun). It is fast in pace and sure kicks up some dust and it’s harder and rougher than I thought it would be. It’s pure hard rock with a slice of metal but it never gives in on memorable melodies and I’m a bit surprised just how great the tune actually is. Now I was interested for real. I quite liked the first single “Love Like Poison” the first time I saw the video, but the tune grew on me already by the first time I listened to it through my head phones. This is melodic rock in a heavier way that is both rough and in-your-face but also very catchy with a big hit feel – yes, this is really, really good stuff. “Breaking The Chains” is a ball-buster, heavy and raunchy with a fat groove and a refrain so catchy I wanna raise my fist and yell – a real killer! The title track is a heavy ballad, big and bombastic and more a powerful ballad than a power ballad. The arrangement is a bit darker and the chorus is just do die for – so brilliant!
They follow the ballad with “Stand My Ground”, a fat, punchy rocker with shitloads of attitude. The verses are great but the chorus fall a bit flat and doesn’t really catch on. It’s not a bad song at all, but it falls a bit on the wayside, I’m afraid. But they’re back on track with “My Life”, a fast, kick-ass balls-to-the-wall rocker that strikes hard but also has a chorus so sticky you could use it put up wall paper – this tune really hits where it should. The main arr. in “Break The Silence” is straight forward traditional hard rock but there is also an underlying alternative twist in there. I’m not all that comfortable with it, but it’s not bad per se so I guess it’s ok without raising any eye brows. “Sinner” sounds a lot like Scandinavian (read: Swedish) sleaze rock but with an amazing melodic rock arr. all over the place. It is attitude laden with a very strong melody, both in verse and chorus – another winner!
“Shock Me” (anyone who don’t think of Kiss when reading this title, raise your hands…) is heavy but has a sleazy groove and my mind wanders back to 1991 when I hear it. I thought 1991 was a great year for melodic hard rock so “Shock Me” goes down like a storm for me. “Wild Side” (anyone who don’t think of Mötley Crüe when reading this title, raise your hands…) is melodic hard rock with a punch and it’s impossible to not surrender to the distinct catchiness of the chorus – I love it! “Don’t Wake Me Up” comes in mid-tempo and a floating, addictive groove. The main melody and refrain is very memorable but it doesn’t feel like single material even though it catches on pretty fast. It’s more of a damn good album track and those are usually the ones that stays on longer. Closing number “Crash” feels like a nothing special standard rocker at first, but it turns out that it is the kind of song that grows on you while listening and it ends up a really strong and memorable hard rock tune and a very good way to close a good rock record.
I’m surprised. Very surprised. I actually had to find their debut and give it a shot just to see if I had been wrong about the band right from the start. It’s a yes and no on that one. I found the debut better than I thought it would be and it is a good album, but it’s not entirely there. So what this album shows is a band that have both matured and developed a lot since the debut, especially singer Tåve Wanning. On the debut, Tåve’s voice was too nasal and a bit thin and the whole band sounded like a band searching for their brand. On this album, Wanning’s earlier Britney Spears-like vocal style is more or less gone and instead of a girl singing we now get a woman who have strengthen her vocal chords and sports a much broader range. Both the musicians and the songs now shows a band ready to take on the world instead of just taking on the clubs in Sweden. Sure, their music isn’t original at all and it has been done before, but I have said it before and I will say it again, that doesn’t matter if you have really strong songs, attitude, musicianship and an identity of your own. Adrenaline Rush owns all of the above now and if they can promote themselves well enough, 2017 might just be their year. Here’s me strolling away with my tail between my legs…