Reviewed: October, 2018
Released: 2018, Gain
Back in 1997 Hardcore Superstar were the leaders in the beginning of the New Wave of Swedish Sleaze Metal, which came to include bands from other Scandinavian countries as well. YOU CAN’T KILL MY ROCK ‘N ROLL is the band’s 11th studio album and one that from the start dispels any notions of stagnation. The band’s expanding palette started on 2015’s HCSS and is further developed on the new album. While YOU CAN’T KILL MY ROCK ‘N ROLL makes unmistakable lunges for radio play, it is less overt than say Reckless Love’s last album, with plenty of the core sound of the band intact.
“AD/HD” is the lead track for a reason, fusing the experimental with the traditional sound of the band. The opening keyboards transition to a fast and punk-inflected drum beat before one of Berg’s catchy but repetitive choruses. Berg shines with his shouted singing throughout, but there are more than a fair share of backing gang vocals emphasizing the point that choruses are king here. Interspersed among the mid-paced tempo of most songs are style changes like “The Others” with its almost thrash-like guitar chug to open the tune. “My Sanctuary” starts acoustic before kicking in with a distorted, sleazy riff.
A few themes begin to emerge as the album continues, mainly that Berg and the boys want to pay tribute to rock, but also offer a light-handed indictment of mental health treatment, as evidenced on the lead track and again on “Have Mercy On Me”, where the subject wants to rock but others want to force an exorcism on him. The rock tributes are much more overt beginning with the nod to Twisted Sister in the album’s title. The title track’s guitar riff and synth is almost a direct rip-off of ZZ Tops “Legs” while the verse vocal melody on “Bring The House Down” is absolutely lifted from the verse in Slade’s “Run Runaway.” It is also the most obvious reach for a hit single, and while catchy, its contrived intent is a detraction.
Minor grips aside, YOU CAN’T KILL MY ROCK ‘N ROLL is a strong effort, the band sounding inspired and energetic. Like most HCSS albums, this one shines in the car or as a start to a night of frosty beverages. It will not bring in many new converts, nor will it be lauded as a highlight of the catalog, but Hardcore Superstars consistency remains one of the band’s greatest strengths. Fans will unquestionably find YOU CAN’T KILL MY ROCK ‘N ‘ROLL a worthy addition to their growing and highly respectable catalog.