In image, and sometimes in sound, Fatal Smile come across as a mixture of glam metal meets Marilyn Manson\’s Beautiful People, meets…perhaps modern more groove-metal laden Firewind. At times more traditional metal and hard rock holds sway over the style making it harder to pin them down into just one style. Some may lump them into the NWASS (New Wave of Swedish Sleaze) but the band\’s sound has little in common with the leaders of that scene (Crashdïet, Crazy Lixx, Hardcore Superstar, Reckless Love, Vains of Jenna, etc.). Fatal Smile has been around since 1995, and while this isn\’t the first time I\’ve heard them, this album is the first I\’ve seriously listened to multiple times. For the style of metal these guys play, they are at the top of their game. Big hooks, melody, groove, and a modernized metal/hard rock sound continue to take this band to ever more listeners.
After a welcome inside the circus intro, an earth shattering scream kicks off \”Welcome to the Freakshow\”. The song is Reminiscent of \”The Beautiful People\” with more melody. The second track, \”Nailed to the Wall\”, begins with some thundering drums which I would of liked to hear more of throughout the song. Despite that, it has an excellent chorus, is rather heavy, and is easily one of the album\’s strongest tracks. “Judgment Day” plods along with a major heavy groove. “My Private Hell” with it\’s antithetic arena rock chorus, reminded me most of modern Firewind…even at times the vocals reminded me of Apollo. “Scarecrow” has some nice Dokken-esque riffing and “Innocent” reminded me of some Steel Panther heavy riffing. The album closer \”For the Last In Line\” is an emotional power ballad that pays tribute to the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Fatal Smile have written the most touching tribute to the man on the silver mountain that I\’ve heard so far. Powerful, powerful vocals that would make RJD proud. Even though this is a power ballad, it\’s the strongest and best track on the album.
Freakshow image aside, these guys fucking rock. While some bands try to modernize the classic hard rock/metal sound and fail, Fate Smile successfully pull it off leaving the cheese behind and keeping things gritty enough to please the discerning metalhead. Well worth a listen!
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