Crashdiet – The Savage Playground
2013, Frontiers Records
1. Change The World
2. Cocaine Cowboys
5. Lickin’ Dog
7. Sin City
8. Got A Reason
9. Drinkin’ Without You
10. Snakes In Paradise
11. Damaged Kid
13. Garden of Babylon
Simon Cruz – Vocals
Martin Sweet – Guitar
Peter London – Bass
Eric Young – Drums
Producer: Otto Welton
Crashdiet’s fourth album is their best yet. I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve heard from these guys but The Savage Playground seems to take matters to another level. I hate to use the word “mature” when talking about a group of sleaze rockers but that’s exactly the band has done — matured. At least in regards to their songwriting. Don’t misunderstand me, they aren’t writing to make you think with song titles like “Cocaine Cowboys”, “Anarchy”, “Lickin’ Dog” (which sounds like a Babylon A.D. song), “Sin City” and “Drinkin’ Without You”. The band can still bring the sleaze attitude but I really think the band’s sense of melody has improved and Simon Cruz continues to grow as a vocalist. That’s a good thing because it starts to separate them from the rest of the sleaze rock pack.
They’ve started to expand ever-so-slightly with their songs. While “Cocaine Cowboys” and “Anarchy” are total glamfests, “California” seems a bit more modern, melodic & radio-ready and “Garden of Babylon” is a no-frills 7 minute heavy metal number with enough twists & turns to keep you interested. “Damaged Kid” is another track that has a modern vibe to it at times.
There’s a few tracks that I would classify as filler. “Circus”, “Sin City” and “Snakes In Paradise” could’ve been left off the album, in my opinion, but the rest of the album is enjoyable through and through. The first four songs and then the album’s closer are just fantastic glam metal. “California” especially. That song is addictive.
All told, The Savage Playground shows us that the band is growing as musicians. They aren’t as snotty as before but they are still delivering the hooks & choruses needed to deliver a fun glam-metal album. I’ve seen some online reviews write this album off as as a step down in quality but as far as I’m concerned, this is the best album the band has released yet.
Highlights: “Change the World”, “Cocaine Cowboys”, “Anarchy”, “California”, “Lickin’ Dog”, “Garden of Babylon”
2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?
In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:
Accept – Stalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.
Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.
KISS – Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.
Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted, I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001’s Just Push Play).
Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a Painkiller, Hell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.
Primal Fear – Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.
Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.
The Last Vegas – The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Romanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?) followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.
M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.
They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.
Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?
I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!
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Tags: Accept, Aerosmith, AOR, Black Sabbath, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Classical Music, Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx, Dario Mollo, Dokken, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Joe Lynn Turner, Judas Priest, KISS, M-Pire of Evil, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Mollo/Martin, Music, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Primal Fear, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Rock, Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Stryper, Sunstorm, Tony Martin, Tooth And Nail, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, TSO, Van Halen
Crashdiet – Generation Wild (2011, Frontiers Records)
Original Release: 2010, Universal Music/Gain Records)
1. “442” … 0:54
2. “Armageddon” … 4:06
3. “So Alive” … 4:13
4. “Generation Wild” … 4:05
5. “Rebel” … 3:23
6. “Save Her” … 3:26
7. “Down With the Dust” … 2:47
8. “Native Nature” … 4:39
9. “Chemical” … 4:17
10. “Bound to Fall” … 4:16
11. “Beautiful Pain” … 4:42
Simon Cruz – Vocals
Martin Sweet – Guitar
Peter London – Bass
Eric Young – Drums
Producer: Johan Ramström and Patrik Magnusson
Crashdiet (or Crashdïet, if you prefer) are yet another glam/sleaze act from the country seems to have an unlimited supply of them — Sweden. Seriously, I bet you can’t drive down the road in that country without running over of these bands. I’ve heard and liked number of Crashdiet’s previous songs like “Riot In Everyone” and “It’s A Miracle” but for some reason I never got around to picking up an album. I’m sure high import prices are what kept my curiosity at bay. Generation Wild is their third release and also debuts their third vocalist — Simon Cruz. Cruz replaced Olli Herman (who left Crashdiet in 2008 to devote more time to Reckless Love) who replaced Dave Lepard (who commited suicide in 2006).
Well, what we have here is a reissue of the band’s 2010 album that was originally issued by Universal/Gain Records. They have since signed with Frontiers Records and this re-release looks to consummate the new deal. Though there are some international pressings of the original release with extra tracks, from what I can tell the only addition on the Frontiers version is the “442” intro (Maybe a change in album art too?), so this reissue really is of no interest to anyone who already has the 2010 release, BUT… with Frontiers’ wider distribution, this album should be easier to come by for North American listeners and should most definitely be picked up.
By this time, most people should know what to expect from the glam acts of Sweden: parts Def Leppard, Motley, Guns, KISS, Skid Row, etc. Some acts are more polished and AORish than others, some acts are sleazier than others. I like both sides of the fence and apparently Crashdiet does as well because they are straddling said fence. The gang vocals and harmonies are very reminiscent of Def Leppard but songs like “Armageddon” and “Generation Wild” have just enough bite. In fact, the whole album has enough bite that you don’t feel like you’re listening to cheese that expired in the 1980s. Like most bands that play that modern glam, Crashdiet are exactly that: modern.
From all accounts, Crashdiet is a success in their home country if you define “success” as having your album debut at #3 on the album charts and then getting your music video for “Generation Wild” banned on your country’s version of MTV! It’s a shame there’s not a huge market for these bands in America. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the music Crashdiet creates. If you’re into Hardcore Superstar, Wildstreet, Vains of Jenna, Dirty Penny, Crazy Lixx, Reckless Love, Jettblack and so on, this is an album and band you should not miss out on.
Highlights: “Armageddon”, “So Alive”, “Generation Wild”, “Save Her”, “Native Nature”, “Chemical”, “Beautiful Pain”