What a nice surprise! This summer we get a new, full-length studio album from the Swedish band, Treat. Despite a huge European fan-base, big tours, major labels and several albums over the years, these guys were never really well-received in North America, but who cares? Music transcends borders and in this day and age of instant digital gratification, where a band is from seems less and less important. So here we are 30 years since the band formed, and what have they got to offer in 2010? My answer! Tons!
On the whole, Treat are a melodic Hard rock/ Metal act. Reference points might be bands like Scorpions, Bonfire, Pretty Maids and other smooth yet crunchy bands. Treat deliver a big, big sound on their latest offering, their first in about 20 years. This is certainly a band that rocked hard in the 80s and can play to their strengths. Wisely avoiding ‘modernizing’ their song-writing style, Treat know their audience and don’t try to mess with the formula that brought them success in the early days. Translation? COUP DE GRACE could have come out in 1989 and the planet would have loved it.
It’s perhaps a bit trite to label a band like this as retro or old-fashioned because fans of the genre and style are very well aware that this sound NEVER went away. There have been bands playing melodic hard rock since its inception back in the early 80s. It is no longer a sound that can be defined as ‘the 80s’. To tag this band in such a fashion would be unfair.
Musically, every song has big catchy choruses, layered gang-vocals all driven by a clear powerful voice from singer Robert Ernlund. Songs like ‘Paper Tiger’ and ‘Roar’ are just so well written they easily be rock radio staples. Ballads? You got them! ‘A Life To Die For’ and a couple of other veer into ballad territory, not necessarily acoustic but just pulling the brakes, ever so slightly. Album highlight for me is the track ‘Skies Of Mongolia’. This song could have easily fit on a House Of Lords album. The world-weary lyrics speak volumes and are the icing on the cake. Every song is a winner. There is a cohesion and palatable sense of direction that make this more than just a collection of songs. I will never get tired of listening to well-crafted, melodic hard rock songs with big hooks and I’m glad Treat is back.
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