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Proud – Second Act

Proud
Second Act
by Mark Machlay at 15 June 2021, 6:33 AM

A long dormant Swedish euro-metal/hard rock band PROUD returns after 36 long years with a new release, their aptly titled second full-length album, “Second Act” released in late May of 2021. Founded in Landskrona, Sweden in 1982, they originally started under the name BURN and were lost among the countless other hard rock back that came about in the mid-80s. The group quickly changed their name to PROUD and after releasing six song demo in 1983 was able to secure a record deal with infamous EMI and released their seminal debut full-length “Fire Breaks the Dawn”. Between 1980 and 1986, there were a swarm of Swedish heavy metal bands of various styles, pre-dating the boom of Swedish death and black metal bands that would gain notoriety in later years. PROUD got lost in the sea because reviewing their debut in hindsight, would end being quite a behemoth bit of Swedish metal history with just one album. The album would ride the NWOBHM style pretty heavily but with appropriately used keyboards, decent guitar work and passionate vocals singing about darker emotional content, it’s a damn shame it didn’t get more attention. The band were only able to release another two song demo in 1985 before they would seemingly vanish.

Fast forward to 2019 and two original band members would reunite to see if they still had that spark from the 80s. It’s possible the death of original drummer Anders Holmqvist passing away from cancer in the same year was the impetus to reignite the long stagnant metal flames. Original members - vocalist and guitarist Anders Magnell and bassist Roberth Horvath - quickly got to work writing and recording as fast as they could. Mats Christiansson would join them to fill on drums and the engineer for the record – Richard Larsson of Swedish AOR band THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA – added the integral keyboard parts. It would go on to be mixed and mastered by Erik Martensson of melodic heavy metal band ECLIPSE at Mass Destruction Production and receive additional mixing from Thomas “Plec” Johansson of UNMOORED and TORCHBEARER at The Panic Room.

It’s honestly hard to believe that none of the guys from PROUD ever did much of anything else because they sure can write some uplifting mid-tempo jams. “Second Act” isn’t really anything innovative but they certainly know the formula that JOURNEY, EUROPE and SURVIVOR laid out for them. Their first album leaned more hard rock and NWOBHM heavy but from the glossy, synth-laden intro of opener “Sail Away” they are firmly in melodic rock/AOR territory. There are moments of their earlier guitar-driven nature like on the riff-heavy RUSH guitar-toned “Crying in the Night” with a pretty nice guitar solo giving a BOSTON feel to it. The equally driving “Magic” has some flashes of 80s sounding synths, but is just as a guitar-heavy hard rock with just enough melody and hook to keep it in the AOR category. Unfortunately, the latter half seems to drag when the softer and slower tracks “Dangerous” and “Higher” take over. They’re simply too formulaic for me to get my fist pumping for those anthems. Thankfully, the band seem to know how to lay out an album and end with the epic “Fly like an Eagle” which could have easily been a banger of a closer in the arena rock days. With “Second Act” seemingly fueling a rebirth for PROUD, they certainly got the smarts and the formula for their new style with a strong but far from flawless second album.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sail Away
2. Broken Dreams
3. Magic
4. Born for Your Love
5. Crying in the Night
6. Dangerous
7. Higher
8. Hold On
9. I’m Ready
10. Fly like an Eagle
Lineup:
Anders Magnell – Lead Vocals, Guitars, & Backing Vocals
Roberth Horvath – Bass & Backing Vocals
Mats Christiansson – Drums & Backing Vocals

Guest:

Richard Larsson – Keyboards
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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