Album review: CRAZY LIXX – Ruff Justice

CRAZY LIXX - Ruff Justice

Frontiers Records [Release Date 21.04.17]

For over a decade now Swedes Crazy Lixx have been proving a youthful take on the glam and sleaze bands that dominated the airwaves and MTV in the second half of the eighties. I’d always enjoyed their high energy performances at various melodic rock festivals though never felt quite convinced enough by the songs to check out the albums.

However the strength of the writing and performing on this, their fifth studio album is a revelation beginning with an outstanding opening pair of ‘Wild Child and ‘XIII’ (apparently a soundtrack for the new ‘Friday 13th’ video game), all huge melodic hooks and big backing vocals. The sleazy edges have been whittled away and the sound is swaggering commercial hard rock reminding me of bands like Tesla, Heavens Edge and Cold Sweat.

‘Walk the Wire’ is even more melodic, despite borrowing some lyrics from ‘Here I Go Again’, and while  ‘Shot With A Needle of Love’ with its who-ohs, and the Skid Row-esque ‘Hunter Of The Heart’ follow what I view as a typical Crazy Lixx sound, they explore new dimensions. On the slow intro to ‘Killer’ Danny Rexon is sounding like Robert Plant or at least Lenny Wolf, before it kicks into a riff that reminded me of ‘Rock And Roll Children’ or even Ozzy’s ‘Shot In The Dark’.

‘Snakes In Paradise’ and a classic ballad in ‘If It’s Love’ feature excellent solos from their new guitar pairing of Chrisse Olsson and Jens Lundgren respectively , before the pair combine for a rare twin lead on ‘Kiss Of Judas’ which rattles along at a fair pace with an enormous chorus. Finally, ‘Live Before I Die’, with a writing credit from former guitarist and now Inglorious axeman Andreas Eriksson suggesting that it may be an older track, is an anthem to rank alongside past efforts of their such as ‘Sound Of The Loud Minority’ and ’21 Till I Die’.

Throughout the album, I kept closing my eyes and imagining that these songs would have been on heavy rotation on shows like Headbangers Ball around the turn of the decade. Ignore the dodgy spelling s- this is an album to rank alongside the best on what is already proving a vintage 2017 for melodic hard rock.  ****

Review by Andy Nathan

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