It really seems that in a summer chock full o’great albums that the tail end of August has seen fit to grant us a few more. That is by no means a complaint because there is nothing better than getting a record in my mailbox and having it be a winner. Such is the case with ADRENALINE RUSH. Hailing from Sweden and led by stunning vocalist Tåve Wanning, their self-titled debut comes out August 26 via Frontiers Records and it is an exercise in the pure 80’s melodic hard rock that many of us grew up on. Expertly recorded by Erik Mårtensson (W.E.T. and ECLIPSE) every single guitar riff and solo rings out loud and clear against a rhythmic backdrop that simply pops. The biggest thing here is the melodies. Sure they’re catchy, but these songs aren’t of the one-and-done variety. This record demands repeat listens, usually as soon as it’s finished.
”Black n’ Blue” gets this party started with an aggressive riff and Wanning throwing some serious attitude. This continues on the much faster first single and video “Change”. I really didn’t know if I was gonna like this one but after a couple of listens I was like, “Fuck yeah, I’m in!” especially after hearing that solo! That killer 80’s style of guitar gets me every time, what can I say? Ludvig Turner and Alexander Hagman (lead and rhythm respectively) do a fantastic job of cranking out riffs that make you wanna drive way above the speed limit. Plus the fact that they sing backups like bassist Soufian Ma’Aoui makes these big hooks even bigger, and that’s what I want out of a rock record. “Generation Left Behind” is a straightforward tune with another big hook, and “Girls Gone Wild” is pure unadulterated AOR-meets-sleaze rock, the kind of stuff we would hear on all our favorite Friday Night Radio Rock Shows back in the day.
What’s refreshing also is the fact that the band eschewed the typical formula in terms of pacing. You know, hard, fast, mid-tempo, obligatory sappy ballad. Here it’s just one rocker after another and when they choose to slow things down on “When We’re Gone” you welcome the change of pace. The somber tone shows depth you might not catch upon the initial listen/kneejerk reaction a lot of us are guilty of when checking out a new band. Keyboards show up on “Want It All”, enhancing the song without covering it in a high-gloss pop sheen which enables it to be another fist-pumping anthem. My ultimate standout though is “Too Young to Die”. With the hookiest hook on an album full of them this is yet another kickass summer song that channels the greats like JOURNEY, DANGER DANGER, masters of the melodic hard rock/AOR sound, and drummer Marcus Johansson uses his rhythms to get you on your feet and moving.
A tasty blues intro and a dirty, dirty barroom groove power “Oh Yeah!” and Tåve sings with some serious power and force on this one. Just past the halfway mark the overall mood shifts downward for just a moment before the whole band kicks the door back open, not ready to quit just yet. “No No No” has one of the most raw-sounding riffs on the record while “Playin’ to Win” has a very Irish feel to it. Closer “Hit You Like a Rock” is very noisy, as if to say, “As soon as I’m done you’re gonna play this record again, BITCH! You know you want it.” All told I had an absolute ball with this first effort from ADRENALINE RUSH and I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Too Young to Die”, “Girls Gone Wild”, “Want It All”, “Oh Yeah!”, “Playin’ to Win”