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The Senior Management - Heart and Soul Award winner

The Senior Management
Heart and Soul
by Emmalyn Campbell at 02 July 2018, 8:16 AM

THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT is a Melodic Rock band from Sweden. Their sound has also been described as Hard Rock, AOR, or “Country Metal” because of influences from bands like THIN LIZZY and THE EAGLES. Formed in 2015, their debut album “Heart & Soul” was released in May of 2018 and includes 10 tracks.

Jet Lag in Shanghai” opens the album with a heavy riff, soothing verses, and a thumping bassline. The chorus is simple, with high-pitched vocal harmonies that would make DEF LEPPARD proud. It’s not the most groundbreaking opening track, but it does show potential, especially with the ripping guitar solo before the last chorus. I had doubts if the band really incorporated Country into their sound after listening to the first song, but that changed with “I See the Light.” To be honest, I also had my doubts if such a sound would work, but everything in this song is brighter, stronger, and more melodic than the first; the chorus, especially, is lovely, and it does give you that old-timey, rural, summer-loving feeling while still maintaining some integrity as a Hard Rock tune.

He’s the Man” is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, but where that song works, this one is a bit too busy with what sounds like a banjo in the verses. It relies on its chorus and almost sounds like a cut-and-paste of a few genres, instead of the pleasing mix heard before. “God Knows” is much better, with excellent dual guitar action, a focus on melody in all aspects, and the kind of chorus you might hear in a movie soundtrack. “When You Walk Down the Aisle” is one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in a long time. Both Country and Hard Rock bands have an affinity for a good ballad, and this works surprisingly well when the two genres come together to create the same product. The acoustics are simply gorgeous, and Göran Edman’s voice extends the melodies with skill and musical intellect.

Master Your Pleasure” is another example of the group’s unique sound working very well. The opening guitars are pure 80s Rock, the solo is as impressive as any heard on the album so far, and the chorus is big and catchy, with that little hint of Country that makes it stand out. “Con Conference” has a similar sound to the track just before it, a classic Hard Rock song with dual guitars, more relaxed verses that lead up to a harmony-driven chorus, and another great solo from Dennis Heltorp.

Country Strong” is true to its name. There’s a banjo sound again, but this time less subtle, and there’s a storytelling aspect in the lyrics. However, these elements still work, and there’s no sacrifice of melody. “A Message from You” is another beautiful ballad, with moving string work in the verses and expert harmonies in the chorus. The layering is top-notch, and this is the kind of song I’d want to hear around a campfire, showing the group’s ability to transport you with their music. The album closes on a strange note, as “Speak with Our Eyes” is unlike anything we’ve heard so far. There’s almost a techno element with the keys, and the verses have an ebb and flow that reminds me of Hip-Hop. It was a brave move on their part, but it’s not offensive to the ears, and it shows some great variety in songwriting.

This album is definitely a clashing of two worlds, which I feared could’ve been a disaster, but it’s a combination of everything good about Melodic Rock and everything good about Country that still has an original element of its own. Admittedly, if you don’t believe genres are meant to mix like this and have a pretty stringent bubble around you, you might not give it a chance, but first and foremost, this is a creative and admirable Hard Rock venture.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Jet Lag in Shanghai
2. I See the Light
3. He’s the Man
4. God Knows
5. When You Walk Down the Aisle
6. Master Your Pleasure
7. Con Conference
8. Country Strong
9. A Message from You
10. Speak with Our Eyes
Lineup:
Göran Edman – Vocals
Magnus Rosén – Bass
Henrik Zetterlund – Drums
Dennis Heltorp – Guitars, keys
Record Label: Melodic Rock Records
     


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Edited 18 October 2018
 

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