If you were to look for a definition of Melodic Rock, there’d be no need for you to look any further than “Coup De Grace,” the sixth studio album from Swedish rockers Treat.
Now I’ll be honest. I hadn’t listened to any of Treat’s music until I listened to this album. I’d heard of the band, but I didn’t know anything about them at all. I’m one of those unfortunate people who thought that Europe was Sweden’s best melodic rock export. All I can say is that I have SERIOUSLY been missing out. What I heard when I listened to this album literally amazed me. “Coup De Grace” is nothing short of a masterpiece that encompasses every element of the Melodic Rock genre, from smooth vocals and tight harmonies to driving rhythms and guitar laden anthems. And the production?? Simply REMARKABLE!!!
The album opens with a stirring prelude that features audio clips from several memorable historical events and speeches, moving from war and terror to peace and love. I personally think that many of these types of preludes on albums are cheesy, but this one is really well done. Afterwards, you’re transported into the heavy, opening guitar riff of “The War Is Over,” a feel-good, fist-pumping, stadium rocker with some mind-blowing harmonies, in both the vocals and the guitars. This is followed by “All In,” a deliciously fun number that kind of feels like a cross between Def Leppard and Buckcherry.
The fourth track on the album is “Paper Tiger,” which has symphonic elements that roll into some powerful vocals and huge hook lines. “Roar” follows with the same type of symphonic elements, but it’s a much harder track with some awesome guitar riffs and aggressive vocals.
Of course, a melodic rock album would not be fit for purchase without an awesome power ballad. Treat definitely delivers with “A Life To Die For.” I’m a BIG fan of the piano and the keyboards in this song. And I love the way that the simple melody builds throughout the song as layers of guitars and harmonies are added. Of course, the lyrics are enough to give any rocker chick butterflies. :)
“Tangled Up” is a hard-drivin’ party rocker with some fantastic guitar work, including a kick-ass solo. The album then moves into a heavier, chunkier sound in “Skies of Mongolia.” This song is GREAT. It has a much darker feel, lending additional depth to the scope of songs on the album. “Heaven Can Wait” follows with a great melody and a catchy refrain.
“I’m Not Runnin” is another heavy track that‘s quite multi-dimensional, combining a style that you hear in more modern bands (especially in the verses) with the ‘80s feel of big choruses and big harmonies. “No Way Without You” is next. It’s an anthem that moves along at a thunderous pace and literally makes you want to roll down your windows, crank the stereo, and drive 100 miles an hour! I want to describe the next track, “We Own The Night,” just by saying that it made me close my eyes and smile. It’s everything I love about melodic rock. If you listen to it, you’ll get it. It’s amazing! It’s followed by “All For Love,” yet another catchy anthem that will have you singing right along. The album closes with the hard-driving “Breathless,” containing a great melody, some powerful riffs, and a spectacular guitar solo.
Big guitars. Big choruses. Big sound. “Coup De Grace” has all of that and more. It’s one of those albums that will captivate you from start to finish. Every track is simply amazing! Don’t be one of the millions of Americans who are missing out on exceptionally incredible rock music because you’re stuck listening to Nickelback and the rest of the crap played on radio. Go out and get this album. You won’t be disappointed!!!
Dear Treat: Welcome to heavy rotation on my iPod.
Coup De Grace will be released on April 20th. Check them out on myspace at this link.
Rating on Dee’s “How Hard Does It Rock” scale: Out of 10
01. Prelude – Coup de Grace 2:27
02. The War Is Over 3:57
03. All In 4:11
04. Paper Tiger 4:27
05. Roar 4:27
06. A Life To Die For 4:21
07. Tangled Up 4:07
08. Skies of Mongolia 3:52
09. Heaven Can Wait 3:29
10. I’m Not Runnin’ 3:26
11. No Way Without You 4:09
12. We Own The Night 4:34
13. All For Love 3:50
14. Breathless 4:22
Robert Ernlund: vocals
Anders Wickstrom: guitars and background vocals
Jamie Borger: drums
Nalle Pahlsson: bass
Patrick Appelgren: keyboards, guitar and background vocals
It all started one day in 1999. Professional wrestler Chris Jericho was wrestling at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Rich Ward of Stuck Mojo happened to be at the event and met Jericho backstage. While conversing, they began to discuss their shared love of music and discovered that they had been heavily influenced by many of the same bands. A few months later, Ward invited Jericho to sing with a cover band he had started, and Fozzy was born.
Upon signing a record deal, Ward and Jericho decided that they should do something to differentiate themselves from other cover bands and decided to develop a “Spinal Tap” sort of backstory. The members of the band adopted characters and acted as if the songs they covered were actually their own songs, but the songs had been stolen from them while they had been exiled from America due to a record deal gone wrong. The label took the story and ran with it, filming a 30 minute “mockumentary” which aired on MTV and received rave reviews. Then in October of 2000, the band released it’s self-titled debut that consisted primarily of covers. The last two songs on the album were originals. Fozzy sounded exactly like what they were on that first album…nothing more than a mediocre cover band.
When the band began work on their second album, they had determined that they wanted to progress as a band and worked diligently toward that end. Happenstance was released in 2002, consisting of half covers and half originals. They gained much more notoriety, particularly in Europe. Longing to be taken seriously, the band dropped their storyline.
Fozzy’s third album, All That Remains, was released in 2005. This was the their first collection of all original material, and it was good enough to make the metal world pay attention. Fozzy wasn’t a joke anymore. With this album came confirmation that Fozzy might just have what it takes to become a force to be reckoned with.
Fast forward to 2010 and the release of Chasing The Grail. Fozzy has returned with a fire-breathing vengeance, and there can no longer be any doubt – this band is the real deal. While traces of influences such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest still exist, Fozzy succeeds in making the music their own. From start to finish, the album is energetic and aggressive, incorporating thick guitar riffs, bludgeoning drums, and vocals that deliver ferocity and melody in tandem.
Chasing The Grail is undeniably complex, blending components of both arena and melodic rock, and even taking a progressive turn at the end of the album. The first track, “Under Blackened Skies,” is a double-barreled, relentless, inflammatory assault on your speakers and sets the stage for what’s to come. It’s followed by “Martyr No More,” a heavy yet melodious rock anthem which was used as the theme song for WWE’s 2010 Royal Rumble. “Grail” is next and is my pick for best song on the album. The drum work is literally mind-blowing; Frank Fontsere’s skills on the kit are beyond astounding. The song is purely addictive.
“Broken Soul” is the album’s sole ballad. The guitar riffs give the song an ’80’s feel. Jericho’s vocals are reminiscent of Ozzy, and the band backs him with very tight harmonies. “Let The Madness Begin” follows with a thrashy, powerful groove. “Pray For Blood”….I don’t even know where to start! This song is pummeling, and true metalheads will LOVE it. From a musical standpoint, the song is more than technically sound. After hearing it, Fozzy’s musicianship is simply undeniable. Oh, did I mention that Frank Fontsere is a drum god?!?!
Next is “New Day’s Dawn.” This is my least favorite song on the album. It has a very strange feel. It seriously sounds like something that Adam Lambert would sing, and it makes me feel like I’m listening to a soundtrack from a vampire movie. Thankfully, things pick back up with “God Pounds His Nails” and “Watch Me Shine,” a couple of straight-up hard rock songs, the latter of which is quite melodic.
Metalheads, rejoice!! “Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)” is riddled with speed metal at its finest. “Revival” is a magnificent, heavy song with complex sounds and crafty key-changes. The final song, “Wormwood,” is a 14 minute progressive rock song composed of more elements than you can imagine….from acoustic guitars to a Hammond organ to a rousing chorus that brings the pain, it is nothing short of amazing.
I first listened to Fozzy because I was a fan of Chris Jericho, and I found the band’s “backstory” to be amusing. I’m listening to Fozzy now and will continue to do so because they’ve just put out a damn good rock album. If the grail equates to rock superiority, Fozzy can stop chasing – they’ve already captured it.
Welcome to the big leagues, boys!!
Rating on Dee’s How Hard Does It Rock Scale: Out of 10
1. Under Blackened Skies
2. Martyr No More
4. Broken Soul
5. Let The Madness Begin
6. Pray For Blood
7. New Day’s Dawn
8. God Pounds His Nails
9. Watch Me Shine
10. Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)
Chris Jericho – Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitar
Sean Delson – Bass
Frank Fontsere – Drums
February 23rd marks the U.S. release of “Non Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll,” the fourth album from Norwegian rock band Wig Wam. Now I have to be completely honest. When I was given the opportunity to review this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never even heard of Wig Wam. But after listening, I can say with the utmost certainty that there’s a reason why these guys are known as the Norwegian Glam Kings. This stuff is glam metal at its finest!
Wig Wam had my attention with the very first track, “Do You Wanna Taste It.” This song has a Def Leppard feel with a catchy hookline and harmonies that are almost reminiscent of Queen. And guess what – this album’s title is aptly titled, because the rock doesn’t stop there! The electrifying guitar riffs and hard-driving rhythms in the title track and in “Walls Come Down” are literally worthy of blowing your speakers. You’ll find yourself singing along to the feel-good, melodic hard rock anthems “C’mon Everybody” and “Rocket Through My Heart.” And ladies, not to worry! The boys in Wig Wam haven’t forgotten about you! They’ve included two ballads on this album – “From Here” and “Man In The Moon” – that will melt your panties as well as your heart.
My pick for best song on the album is “Still I’m Burning.” It contains just about every element of a great 80’s style hard rock song: It’s catchy, it’s fun, it has a great (yet very simple) guitar solo, and it has a driving energy that makes you want to throw up the horns!
There are a couple of songs that are a little cheesy, but overall, the album is very good. If you are a fan of ’80’s hard rock and glam metal, this album is a MUST have for your collection. You will not be disappointed!
Rating on Dee’s How Hard Does It Rock Scale: Out of 10
1. Do Ya Wanna Taste It
2. Walls Come Down
3. Wild One
4. C’mon Everybody
5. Man In The Moon
6. Still I’m Burning
7. All You Wanted
8. Non Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll
9. From Here
10. Rocket Through My Heart
11. Chasing Rainbows
12. Gotta Get It On (Bonus Track for Europe and US; only available in the first edition digipak)
Wig Wam is:
Glam – vocals
Teeny – guitar
Flash – bass
Sporty – drums