I still remember clearly in the very early 80’s, I was in my school time when I have just discovered the Scandinavian HM movement with illustrious bands such as 220 VOLTS / PRETTY MAIDS / TNT or ZERO NINE and later EUROPE or TREAT and obviously the mighty RISING FORCE! Since the beginning I was hooked by this sound, their unique and incomparable melodic specifity was a revelation, this Nordic wave was everything to me as a young Headbanger it quite rapidly changed my life for ever… Later I dig deeper & deeper into their amazingly rich reserve of bands coming from the frozen nothern lands, I discovered their magic spirit and their obvious superiority in terms of playing skills, you’ll name it MERCYFUL FATE / GLORY / SHOTGUN MESSIAH / SILVER MOUNTAIN / TORCH / CANDELMASS and COHORT! From then, I’m still a big supporter of this sonic identity, this exigency in the smallest crafting detail and their melodic supremacy!
I still remember in the darkest time for Melodic Metal genre, I believe it was in 1994, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel or in fact I found an album by a band called LIONS SHARE that became with the recent release of “Genesis” by TALISMAN a faith restoring item, a breath of fresh air, like an Oasis in a ocean of stinky flanel shirts!
One of the most impressive element of this self titled album beside their amazing slightly Progressive overtones was clearly the singer, I was seduced by his vocal mastery, a fair comparison should be made such as this: Tony Martin mixed with Joey Tempest and a few hints from Goran Edman… The superb voice of Andy Endberg (SECTION A / ex-TWILIGHT) was a major satisfaction and a more than convincing parameter, I still consider this album as one of the most underrated and an angular stone in the recovering Metal scene with now defunct labels such as Long Island Records or Zero Corporation… ok I digress, what’s the point of such introduction?
Well my friends, the legendary 220 VOLTS are back in fine shape with at the frontman post, the one and only, the great Anders Engberg…The band still play superbly and their Swedish singularity is still prominent and addictive! But their versatility is exacerbated, and it’s really impressive how they manage to preserve their Melodic personality even while switching from Classic Hard Rock to Modern Metal (like the Epic “Through The Wastelands”) with a great constancy in an obvious finesse. The title track and album opener is a real burning slice of Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock with a fierce attitude and a superb construction in a highly bombastic method, at the same time majestic and attractive, something like HOUSE OF LORDS meets RAINBOW, yep believe me, it’s this kind of noble anthemic song! “Get Me Out” or “Blind” contains a serious dose of convincing riffage under a contemporary rumbling mania, indeed not far from LIONS SHARE style, the energetic “System Overload” sounds like the best of EUROPE‘s equivalence in their mid 90’s/”Prisoners In Paradise” era. Perhaps with“Alive” they add to this recipe a slight SAXON overtone, still magnificent on the softer side: “Stranded”, “One Good Reason” or “Take A Good Look”, it’s pure classic rock with a WHITESNAKE / THUNDER feeling. The only reminiscence of the old AOR colors are founded in the title “Burning Heart” and also in the chorus of the keyboard driven “Broken Promises” even if the band provides a darkest tint to this cut! The closing orchestrated number “Guiding Light” with it’s amazing string quartet arrangment is once again in obvious concordence with Tempest and co. in their most acoustic moments.
This brand new collaboration between Mr. Engberg and 220 VOLTS seems more than productive and really satisfying, all the lights are set on green to predict a triumph, all the ingredients are improved in their best perfection, they even succeed in outmatching themselves and their glorious past by reaching an unexpected level of excellency under an hyper catchy songwriting method… As an evidence I recommend to you all this album in order to honor the Septentrionic Gods of Heavy Metal!
1. Walking In Starlight 2. System Overload 3. Broken Promises 4. Alive 5. Blind 6. Stranded 7. Get Me Out 8. The Waiting 9. Through The Wastelands 10. Burning Heart 11. Take A Good Look 12. One Good Reason 13. Guiding Light
Anders Engberg – vocals Thomas Drevin – guitars Mats Karlsson – guitars Peter Hermansson – drums