Badge band photo

BADGE – If I Could Love, I’d Love This

Badge - If I Could Love I'd Love ThisI got to hear about this lot from a friend of mine. They play the blues, he said, sorta. When I checked some info on the band online, I could read that them boys actually played some of what they call the Delta Blues. Ok, this sounds interesting enough, a Swedish trio which plays the Delta Blues. What made the whole thing even more interesting was to find out where the three members actually came from. Well, first of all, they haven’t exactly been housing down by the swamp deep down in the American south. Nope, these guys have backgrounds that, to some, might be a bit remarkable if you think about the kind of music they are now playing. So a little introduction is in order, I guess. Well, first off we have guitarist and singer Matti Norlin. Looking at his background, he might be the most obvious member of this band as he has already released four solo albums, the first back in 1995, that were all blues records so his roots doesn’t raise any eyebrows. But eyebrows will be raised. Bass player Gustaf Hielm was the bass player for hardcore techno metal band Meshuggah from 1995 – 2003 and has since then also played with progressive metal band Pain Of Salvation. Not so much Delta blues, Huh? Also, the drummer’s name is Fredrik Haake and to metal enthusiasts, that name sure rings a bell. Yes, he is the cousin of, again, Meshuggah drummer Thomas Haake and as I said, Meshuggah isn’t exactly the blues. Also, I learned that Badge already has one album under the belt, Kill Another Fuzz from 2006.

Now I must admit that, when it comes to the blues, I prefer it mixed with other kinds of music because frankly, the raw and original blues bores me after a few songs so, I wasn’t sure whether I’d even get through this album at all. But it turned out that all talk about pure Delta blues and such was slightly exaggerated. Yes, the blues is very frequent here, but what I hear on this album is rock. Groovy raw rock and roll with a big dose of blues in it. To my ears, Badge doesn’t sound more Delta blues than Led Zeppelin and Free did. I could be wrong, though. Maybe it’s me and maybe I don’t give them the blues cred that they deserve. Maybe blues and roll could be a good name for their music? Delta blues or not, what Badge really does is write great songs, because this album really took me by surprise. Not that I thought that this would be a bad album, no sir, but I didn’t expect it to be this strong either. Opener “Down To Earth” is a, well, down to earth rocker that holds a great melody, the Delta blues they were talking about comes out in the brilliant “Calculated Moves” that reminds me a bit of Swedish retro rockers Captain Murphy, first single “Break Down” is a killer, a sweaty blues stomper and “Graveyard Blues” is a dark and heavy blues roller – awesome! “Draw The Curtains” is brilliant, groovy as hell and “The First Female Skydiver” is a little masterpiece – it’s raw, hard, edgy and punky in a MC5 kinda way. The album ends on an acoustic note – “Stand” is fantastic with its rousing blues groove.

After one listen at home, I thought; this was really good. After yet another listen through my earphones I was smiling ear to ear when the album had ended. If you love your rock and roll raw, honest and stripped, if you have a thing for melodic blues, if great songs and great players makes you tick, then I would highly recommend this album.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

01. Down To Earth
02. Calculated Moves
03. Break Down
04. Obey
05. Graveyard Dance
06. Draw The Curtains
07. Break The Circle
08. The First Female Skydiver
09. Stand

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4 comments on “BADGE – If I Could Love, I’d Love This

    • The album is full of them, Mike. I’m sitting here thinking that maybe I should change the rating to a 9 instead. Another Swedish band to add to your buylist maybe… 😉

      Speaking of which, did you find anything to your satisfaction among the CDs I sent you, apart from the Witch House one?

      • I’ve played four of them now but Witch House jumped out at me most. I’ll have t spend some time with them and get to know them a bit. I liked the Zinny Zan! I could think of major bands that don’t write songs that good…

      • Cool. Let me know what you think when you’ve got to know them better. I’m a bit curious of what you might think of them.

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