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Band of Spice – How We Play The Game

Band of Spice
How We Play The Game
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 25 October 2022, 8:59 PM

BAND OF SPICE is not a SPICE GIRLS tribute band, nor a food seasoning product, they are a heavy metal trio from Sweden and have released their fifth full length album “How we play the Game” on September 23, 2022, via Scarlet Records. I had trouble finding out information on this band or their members through my usual search engines, so I have to steal, err, I mean borrow the brief bio from Scarlet Records website. The band’s leader, Christian “Spice” Sjostrand, (formerly of SPIRITUAL BEGGARS) thought the first two BLACK SABBATH albums still sound heavy, fresh, and clear. His main goal was to make something in line with those two classics. A flowing collection of songs rich of variation, vibe, and unquestionable melodic feeling. As usual the lyrics deal with human condition and our hidden dark feelings, fear, madness, hopelessness, and the never-ending dream of escaping reality. Our lyrics are both honest, twisted, and real, just like life itself.

Starting off with a short, sweet, somber tease on “Gone Insane” before skyrocketing to heavy, gritty riffs dancing with forceful, raw vocals. Catchy, romping riffs open up “Demonized” to the strained, narly vocal layering’s that give a dark, edgy sound to this song. Stampeding into “My Game” continues to blast hard and heavy riffs backed by thundering drums and raucous vocals. I’m seeing the BLACK SABBATH influence rearing it’s demonic head throughout the first three songs so far, with angry and aggressive vocals narrating the paralyzing lyrics of another place and time packaged together with hardcore, hooks and riffs, nothing over-the-top or super innovative, just “good ole boy” hard rock. Ok, they just made a liar out of me with my “innovative” comment with a complete turnaround on “Descending” with slow, melodic tempo over deep, almost talking vocals and despite a Tony Iommi like riff at the end can’t save a bit of a ho-hum song. “Little Casino” is a way too brief, 2:15 mind bending guitar laden instrumental with a sizzling, thundering infectious riff that ended too quick, like a 16-year-old boy’s first sexual experience. The album closes with my favorite song of the album “A Song For You”, a well-crafted, jamming rocker, with intense vocals partnered with husky riffs and kick-ass solo, a strong way to end.

Overall, this is a very good, rocking album, with hard and heavy riffs, catchy refrains, endowed with some blistering guitar solos, nicely balanced back beats and bold drums. As I mentioned earlier in this review, it will not revolutionize heavy metal, but it’s a damn good listen and any fans of early BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA and even IRON MAIDEN will find this a well-done effort.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Gone Insane
2. Demonized
3. My Game
4. Below the Sun
5. Control
6. Descending
7. Offside
8. Little Casino
9. A Song for You
Lineup:
Christian “Spice” Sjostrand – vocals/guitar
Alexander Sekulovski - bass
Bob Ruben – drums/percussion
Record Label: Scarlet Records
     


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