Frontiers Records [release date 10.09.21]
A Symphonic Rock album for the ABBA generation, Anette (Dark Element/ Nightwish) Olzon’s collaboration with maestro, Magnus Karlsson, titled Strong, is huge, confident and full of heartstopping hooks. It has a lovely gloss to it… yes, it’s edgy and it’s aggressive in places, but at its pop opera core it’s designed to please the crowd.
As we move through the music we are constantly surrounded by towering, wall to wall choruses and harmonies. Olzon’s commanding mezzo soprano vocals continually swoop and soar. The dark pop tones of the eminently catchy ‘Sick Of You’ and ‘Strong’ remind you of peak ABBA, effortlessy bridging between dance, pop and the baroque grandeur that illuminated the band’s late seventies’ albums.
The high impact, high speed bpms and amphetamine fuelled keyboards of ‘Bye Bye Bye’ and ‘Parasite’ are symphonic metal’s equivalent of a major event firework display, each climaxing in an explosion of sound and light on the chorus.
‘I Need To Stay’ and ‘Sad Lullaby’ have the kind of coherence and charisma that can only come from a pairing of artists who have been on the same page from the off. Karlsson’s shifting mix of heavyweight orchestration and shimmering percussive rhythms are the perfect setting for the romantic obsessions in Olzon’s lyrics.
Throughout the album, Karlsson throws in a line or two of low growling notes. They are a little unsettling at first… but it soon becomes evident that they’re there simply to anchor the music to its heavy metal roots.
The quality shades off a little toward the end of the album. No surprise … consistency at this level is often elusive. ***1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 October 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 2 November 2021.
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From 1 December the Featured Albums and Power Play segments will reflect those artists and tracks featured during 2021.
Featured Albums w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 MEMORIA AVENUE Memoria Avenue (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 FANS OF THE DARK Fans Of The Dark (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 HANNAH JAMES & TOBY KUHN Sleeping Spirals (Jigdoll Records)
Power Plays w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)
THE FORGOTTEN Interstellar (FiXT Noir)
QUILL Riding Rainbows (indie)
DEAD REYNOLDS Uninspired (The Fort)
CAVALCADE Dreaming About (Golden Robot)
HANNAH ALDRIDGE Sinking (indie)
GREYHAVEN All Candy (Rude Records)
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