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Berggren Kerslake Band - The Sun Has Gone Hazy

Berggren Kerslake Band
The Sun Has Gone Hazy
by Dorin Mandelbaum at 05 January 2014, 1:56 PM

Do you feel envious of your parents because they had the chance to listen to all the big Rock albums of legendary bands when they debuted? Are you a Classic Rock fan born in the wrong era? Do you wonder what it was like to listen to a good mainstream classic Hard Rock album during the 70’s? Then, the new album “The Sun Has Gone Hazy” by BERGGREN KERSLAKE BAND (BKB) could give you that experience right now in 2014.

Listening to this album felt like opening a time capsule. From the very first note I could hear my thoughts buzzing: “wow, that sounds so BLACK SABBATH”, “oh, that reminds me of LED ZEPPELIN”, “this riff feels like it’s by THE WHO”. With this album BKB makes you feel like you were born in the 70’s, and that feels great.

Judging by the cover you might think you’re looking at a psychedelic rock album, but don’t let it fool you: this is Hard Rock. However, the moog and organ solos added to some of the songs by special guest Joakim Svalberg (OPETH, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) do provide a hint of a spacey vibe.

The album kicks off with “Walk Tall”, a very solid and powerful rock song. It is spiced up with hints of GUNS N’ ROSES and AEROSMITH guitar sounds, giving the song a Blues Rock feel. Singer Stefan Berggren (M3, WHITESNAKE and more) has a big Glam Rock voice that carries the entire album vividly to the point that your ears are almost sizzling from its crispness. Drummer Lee Kerslake used to play with OZZY, as can be heard clearly in “Super Sonic Dream” which has a rhythm similar to “Children Of The Grave” by BLACK SABBATH. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head to it pretty much immediately. “My My” surprised me with its laid back feel that sounds like it could easily be a LED ZEPPELIN song if Robert Plant was singing it (don’t worry, that’s a good thing!). It breaks the pattern of the first two songs and gives some roundness to the album.

The title song “The Sun Has Gone Hazy” is not hazy at all, but again a strong Rock song. It´s contrasted by “Free” which is the kind of song you would enjoy hearing when looking over a beautiful vast landscape of cornfields rustling in the wind somewhere in Oklahoma.
“Fools Asleep” brings back that Blues Rock feel from the beginning of the album, followed by the strong rock ballad “As Time Goes By”. The latter even has a gospel chorus taking it to the next level in a more heavenly way. The only song title that makes you realize that you’re not in the 70’s anymore is “Rock´n´Roll Gangsta”. You might wonder who the ‘gangsta’ is, but judging by the raw rock sounds it could be Jimi Hendrix or DEEP PURPLE. “Back On The Road Again” has this early BON JOVI groove to it. If BKB ever plays a stadium tour they should certainly include this track in the set list. The album ends with the gentle “Born Again”. It feels good ending an album with a song about a beginning and Stefan Berggren displays more frailty and emotion in his voice than in the earlier songs. A very pleasant ending to this hard rocking album indeed.

One thing I noticed is that the mix of the album felt ‘clogged’ in some way, which seems odd for a mostly live recorded album, usually this breathes a lot of air into the mix, yet here something felt a bit too closed. The lyrics may be a bit too simple or even cliché at times. I would have enjoyed the album more if the lyrics were innovative.

In summary: if you want the full 70’s experience, you got it! But, like a 70’s album you need to listen to it “old school”. It needs to grow on you. Put it on as background music, or listen to it in parts. Get familiar with it and gradually discover all the hidden little treasures it has.

If you’re looking for something fresh that sounds contemporary this might not be your cup of tea, but if you’re into old timer’s Classic Rock this album is a winner…

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Walk Tall
2. Super Sonic Dream
3. My My
4. The Sun Has Gone Hazy
5. Free
6. Fools Asleep
7. As Time Goes By
8. Rock´n´Roll Gangsta
9. Back On The Road Again
10. Born Again
Lineup:
Stefan Berggren - Vocals, Guitar, Organ Piano Moog, Strings Rhodes piano & Tambourine
Lee Kerslake - Drums, Vocals, Strings Mellotron & chimes
Tomas Thorberg - Bass

Guest:
Joakim Svalberg - Organ & Moog (on the songs "As Time Goes By" & “Rock`n`Roll Gangsta”)
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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