Released: 2012, Fronteirs Records
The Swedish sleaze heroes return with their third LP, riding a wave of enthusiastic and well –deserved accolades from their last album, 2010’s excellent NEW RELIGION. Crazy Lixx are a part of the Swedish New Wave Of Sleaze Metal, which includes country mates Hardcore Superstar, Crashdïet, Babylon Bombs, and Vains of Jenna. You could also throw Reckless Love into that mix even though they came along a bit later. The inherent dilemma of releasing a fantastic album is the inevitable question of how do you live up to it on the follow-up? Judging by the somewhat low-buzz and muted expectations from the metal faithful, it almost seems like most were expecting a disappointment. In truth, RIOT AVENUE is not as good as NEW RELIGION, but it misses by only a small margin.
Once again the band delivers plenty of what they are good at, which are simple and direct riffs punctuated with anthemic and memorable choruses. Album opener “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” starts the party on the right foot, with an nod lyrically to Hardcore Superstar’s “Guestlist”, undoubtedly a knowing wink to their fellow sleaze countrymen. It is certainly one of the top 3 tunes on the album, which contains many quality songs. I am not crazy about the production, which sound a bit restrained, but it is not bad. Crazy Lixx has developed a penchant for writing catchy group backing vocals and “Church Of Rock” is a showcase for their skill in this area. Closing the album is a tasteful and mature ballad, “Only The Dead Know”, inserting a bit of variety and seriousness among the mostly feel-good and party tunes of the rest of the album. The beginning of the song has Danny Roxen recalling vintage Sebastian Bach, and you can hear the Skid Row influence in the music as well on the album, particularly the verse guitar work for “Fire It Up”. Much like Skid Row toughened their sound on second third LP, SLAVE TO THE GRIND, Crazy Lixx has inserted a more street-hardened sound, with less polish but still instantly recognizable.
Crazy Lixx are good at what they do, and God bless them for keeping alive an often derided style of metal with professionalism and talent. There are lots of melodic and hook-laden songs on here and plenty of driving and meaty sections to make this one of those ideal records to throw in the car for your next trip to the beach or a party. Three albums in, the band has shown they are no fluke, consistently writing gripping and quality material. Fans of Skid Row, Kiss, and other newer glam/sleaze bands will certainly appreciate Crazy Lixx’s incorporation of the roots while putting their own stamp on them.