Released: 2015, Gain Recordss
Hard to believe Gothenburg’s sons of glam and sleaze have just released their 10th album, HCSS. The template is at this point unchanged, the band offering simply the finest combination of sleaze, glam, and occasional thrash rhythms of all the glam and sleaze revival bands in Scandinavia. HCSS continues the tradition of the band’s fine catalog with another strong album, and in this case they drew inspiration from listening to the band’s early demos from as far back as 1994 to try and recapture the energy and vibe of the band during that period. Combining the early sounds with the band’s current and much more focused musical approach, HCSS offers a grand overview of the band’s entire history.
“Don’t Mean Shit” appropriately opens the album as a catchy and upbeat song that sets the stage for the album with Jocke Berg’s charming sing/shout vocals, and an energetic guitar solo. There are plenty of memorable tunes in this style, so it is refreshing to hear a song like “The Cemetery” with Martin Sandvik‘s bass thumping behind alternating minor chords before one of the best choruses on the album. “Fly” is another tune that adds to the variety of the album, beginning with a Pink Floydish acoustic intro before moving into almost psychedelic territory, definitely a song unlike any they have ever done, but it works. “Touch The Sky” is also a bit different with a pop inflected beat and Reggae vocals from Jocke, at least initially. It somehow works, but is not what I would consider one of the stronger tracks.
Fortunately, Hardcore Superstar still seem to have their secret weapon intact, which is delivering songs with unbridled energy and enthusiasm while marrying that with catchy choruses and melodic parts. The album sounds fantastic as well, being a pummeling wall of sound with booming bass. Admittedly, it is more varied and a bit different from their past albums and so it took me a few spins to really appreciate what they are offering here. Fans of the band will certainly enjoy HCSS, and rejoice that the album keeps Hardcore Superstar at the front of the glam/sleaze metal pack.