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The Savage Playground

Frontiers (2013)
Rating: 8/10

Crashdïet are the saviours of all things glam and sleazy in modern metal. The Savage Playground is the fourth album of 80s fueled modern metal from Stockholm’s finest sons. If you’re already a fan, then you know what to expect.

Crashdïet takes the best of Kiss, Skid Row and AC/DC, and creates a furious new breed of heavy metal based on classic sounds. The result is a throwback to the days when hair metal ruled the airwaves, with a distinct modern crunch.

Fans and critics alike seem divided over the production of Crashdïet’s latest release. The Savage Playground is rough around the edges, but while the production is in no way poor, neither is this a slick, overproduced glam album. What the listener is presented with is the grit. This suits not only the music, but the theme of the album. Lyrical themes include anarchy and drug use, and the production lets the dirt and the grime shine through, making the songs offered in your face and dangerous, just like rock ’n’ roll is supposed to be.

Although Crashdïet has changed vocalists many times, The Savage Playground is the second album in a row to feature singer Simon Cruz. His voice is a definite asset to the Swedish band, and he shares a writing credit on every track. Cruz’s voice is perfectly suited to the sleazy, balls out sound the band has created.

The album opens with Cruz welcoming the listener to the theme of the album on ‘Change The World’, and serves as a call to arms. His vocals shine on lead single ‘Cocaine Cowboys’, ranging from a quiet, tense singsong, to a powerful metal shriek. His techniques are a perfect fit for Crashdïet’s muscular glam sound.

Musically, Crashdïet fall somewhere between Firehouse and Judas Priest. The opening riff of ‘Anarchy’ brings back memories of the former’s ‘All She Wrote’, while the latter is more indicative of the heaviness and menace the band puts forth. Crashdïet mixes melody and muscle to make glam a threat, rather than the sideshow it became all too often in the past. ‘California’ is a prime example of this. The chorus mixes a catchy harmony with impressive vocal harmonies, while the band creates a foundation that is tense and unsettling. The final product lingers on your brain long after the song ends.

Longtime metal fans will enjoy how Crashdïet make a new sound, while wearing their influences on their collective sleeve. ‘Sin City’ opens with a Van Halen-style guitar riff, then segues into an early Ratt-style groove.

The Savage Playground is a collection of classic sounds, and Crashdïet gives them new life. The metal forged by the likes of Dokken and early Mötley Crüe is twisted into a new animal, and this raw, primal collection Crashdïet has created is a rare gem in the glam genre. Crashdïet takes the in-your-face rock of bands like Sleez Beez and has created something better than the original. Well done Crashdïet, very well done.

Jim McDonald

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