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The Poodles – Tour De Force [Review]

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The Poodles – Tour De Force
2013, Frontiers Records

1. Misery Loves Company
2. Shut Up!
3. Happily Ever After
4. Viva Democracy
5. Going Down
6. Leaving The Past To Pass
7. 40 Days And 40 Nights
8. Kings & Fools
9. Miracle
10. Godspeed
11. Now Is The Time
12. Only Just Begun
13. En FörAllaFör En

Band:
Jakob Samuel – Vocals
Henrik Bergqvist – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pontus Egberg – Bass, Backing Vocals
Christian Lundqvist – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Mats Valentin

Don’t let the name fool you, The Poodles are one of the best melodic hard rock acts out there today. I enjoyed their previous album (Performocracy) a lot but I’m digging Tour De Force even more. These guys are really finding their footing as a melodic hard rock band with even some metal influence as they throw in some great guitar solos and heavy riffs. They are still writing catchy pop-hooks but it doesn’t seem as saccharine this time around.

My favorite song off the album is “Shut Up!”. Nonstop energy and the lyrics are humorous. It’s just one of a number of anthems on this album. “Viva Democracy” and “40 Days And 40 Nights” are about as big of an anthem you’re going to hear from someone this side of Jorn Lande. The album is explosive and fun. It’s like fireworks for your ears. The only time the band slows the pace is for the ballad “Leaving The Past to Pass”.

Tour De Force is exactly that and The Poodles’ best work to date.

Highlights: “Misery Loves Company”, “Shut Up!”, “Viva Democracy”, “40 Days And 40 Nights”, “Kings & Fools”, “Miracle”, “Now Is The Time”

http://www.poodles.se
http://www.facebook.com/thepoodles

Buy the album at Amazon.com

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

The Poodles – Performocracy

The Poodles – Performocracy (2011, Frontiers Records)

1. I Want It
2. Until Our Kingdom Falls
3. Father To A Son
4. I Believe In You
5. Cuts Like A Knife
6. As Time Is Passing
7. Love Is All
8. Your Time Is Now
9. Action!
10. Bring Back The Night
11. Vampire’s Call
12. Into The Quiet Night
Bonus Track
13. Don’t Tell Me [demo version]

Band:
Jakob Samuel – Vocals
Henrik Bergqvist – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pontus Egberg – Bass, Backing Vocals
Christian Lundqvist – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Mats Valentin

I had heard of The Poodles for a few years but had never listened to them until I watched their In the Flesh DVD that was released last year. It was equal parts documentary, interviews and live performances and all of the guys in the band came across as pretty cool and down to earth and I liked the music I heard.

If you’re not familiar with The Poodles they are a melodic hard rock band from Sweden that combine AOR, heavy metal and ’80s hard rock. I believe at times they have referred to themselves simply as “heavy metal” but I honestly think that’s just a small part of their sound. They are much more driven by a melodic rock and glam metal sound than by heavy metal, IMO (and Jakob Samuel reminds me of Vince Neil). But at the same time, while some of their sounds are delightfully cheesy they still retain a modern touch. These guys are absolute hook masters. These songs just suck you in. The whole album is heavy yet commercial and most of these songs became stuck in my head after only a few listens.

“Cuts Like A Knife” I believe was the first single and is my favorite track on the album. Despite the somewhat upbeat music, the lyrics are about holding onto ex-love that isn’t coming back, something I think most people in the world can relate to. Then there’s the touching “Love Is All”, which features Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the beginning and has some great lyrics there as well. Another top notch song is “Action!” which has a slightly darker sound than the rest of the album.

The Poodles seem to be one of those bands whose lyrics I have latched onto and really enjoyed. Most of the songs deal with some form of love: romance, heartbreak, family, betrayal, peace, etc. but songs like “I Want It All” and “Your Time Is Now” have a positive message behind them about living your life to its fullest and not being scared to do so.

“Don’t Tell Me” is noted as a bonus track and is said to be a demo but it sounds just as polished and just as good as the rest of the album and actually turns out to be a highlight. I’m not familiar with the band’s back catalog so maybe this is a song that’s been released in some form in the past.

Fans of ’80s pop metal and melodic rock should not pass this one up. This album is a true highlight of 2011 and has strengthened my resolve to check out their previous albums.

Highlights: “I Want It”, “Until Our Kingdom Falls”, “I Believe In You”, “Cuts Like A Knife”, “As Time Is Passing By”, “Love Is All”, “Action!”, “Into The Quiet Night”, “Don’t Tell Me”

http://www.poodles.se
http://www.facebook.com/thepoodles

Buy ‘Performocracy’ at Amazon.com!

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