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The Midnight Chase

GMR Music (2012)
Rating: 7/10

Swedish rockers Crucified Barbara return with their third album, The Midnight Chase, which comes three long years after the release of their last full-length offering, ’Til Death Do Us Party. During the time in between the band have released a DVD (2011), participated in the Eurovision Song Contest (2010), and played alongside bands like In Flames, Backyard Babies, Motörhead, Sepultura and Doro, among others. The album was recorded in Gothenburg with producer Chips Kiesby.

The Midnight Chase’s namesake starts off with a deep, semi-angry guitar sound that blurts short lead licks here and there while the pace is kept by the bottom end and an even keeled vocal that is just dynamic enough to keep your attention. This is one of the best songs on the album as you can really dig into the groove in the same way you might dig into a Warlock or Scorpions classic.

The lead guitar bombast of ‘Shut Your Mouth’ is a highlight for much the same reason, only it gets extra points in my book for the grittier vocal. ‘Rules And Bones’ and ‘If I Hide’ have a more modern sounding feel to them, nodding towards the tradition of the band’s predecessors but fitting in a little better with the current music scene going on around them.

‘Rock Me Like The Devil’ has a little more dynamic spark to it and, in some ways, a heavier feel. It’s also catchy as hell (no pun intended) and my personal favourite track.

‘Count Me In’ is the lone standout and I’m honestly still undecided what I think of it. It’s got a more grandiose feel than the other songs, and I suppose technically it’s a ballad, but it almost seems too important to be relegated to such a stupid category of songs. While I enjoy it for the most part, it takes an otherwise solid rock album and completely disrupts the flow.

While I have heard rumblings of this band here and there, I’m quite surprised that they haven’t crossed my path in the recent past. While not quite as randy as Motörhead or Girlschool, Crucified Barbara take the Doro approach in offering a mix of edgy, hard rock and a bit of class. There isn’t much down and dirty about this album and I kinda like that about it. It may be smooth but what it lacks in gritty edge it more than makes up for with talent. This is certainly worth checking out.

Mark Fisher

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