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Smackbound - 20/20 Award winner

Smackbound
20/20
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 28 July 2020, 11:28 AM

SMACKBOUND is a Melodic Hard Rock/Metal band from Helsinki, Finland. This is their first full-length album and the band is comprised of members of TRACEDAWN, WINTERSUN and STRATOVARIUS. They are fronted by actress and singer Netta Laurenne who formed the band back in 2015. They were also all members of the covers band called RUN FOR COVER, which gave the band members the chance to gel really quickly and move on to the original material.

Usually when you have a band signed to Frontiers Music, you are sure to have something great on your hands. I have quite impressed these last few years with the overall talent roster of the label and have been consistently pleased with the new unknown bands they find. Obviously, Netta Laurenne knows what she is doing by recruiting some world class musicians for her project, I mean WINTERSUN is widely adored throughout the world, same thing for STRATOVARIUS. I don’t know much about TRACEDAWN honestly but I am pretty sure it’s another great musician on hand. It’s a safe bet that this is her band, she fronts it like the world depended on it. You can feel that passion burning inside of her when she sings her heart out. She has a presence I have not heard in a while, power, beauty and energy. It’s a triple threat to say the least.

When you have the time to listen to the album back to front, the first thing you obviously realize is that each song is its own. This is not a homogenous effort, everything kinda stands on its fair legs. Their calling card is diversity and the lead singer just really shines, she is obviously front and center on the songs and I think her career as an actress really made her comfortable. You can hear the passion in her voice, especially on ‘’Wall of Silence’’ where she goes from Punk Rock, to Symphonic Metal to something akin to Power Metal. She transitions so well and I suggest to watch that video clip, she is such a passionate lead singer.

This is also a very keyboard-driven album, those are the driving force of the chorus and overall mood of the songs. It’s very intense, sometimes too much but the guy is incredible. He is not quite on par with the likes of Tuomas Holopainen from NIGHTWISH but he is definitely quite close. He is a standout for sure of the band and I was thoroughly impressed. As for the production, it is truly top notch. All the instruments shine and the lead vocals are mixed seamlessly with the rest of the band and does not drown anything. This is how you do production right in the first place and makes the album even better than it previously was. There is a lot of talent in one small package in this band and they have limitless potential. Truly one of the best albums of 2020 for sure.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wall of Silence
2. Drive it like you Stole it
3. Close to Sober
4. Run
5. The Game
6. Those Who Burn
7. Hey Motherfuckers
8. Troublemaker
9. Date with the Devil
10. Wind and Water
Lineup:
Teemu Mantysaari – Guitars
Rolf Pilve – Drums
Tuomas Yli-Jaskari – Bass
Vili Itapelto – Keyboards
Netta Laurenne – Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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