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Treat - The Endgame

Treat
The Endgame
by Chris Hicklin at 13 June 2022, 4:20 PM

TREAT are a Swedish Melodic Rock band, originally formed in 1981 they released a string of albums through the mid to late 80s which were met with little critical fanfare, garnering relentless negative comparisons to Swedish Rock giants EUROPE who were sweeping the charts at the time, and racking up sluggish sales. Despite some stellar tours and support slots, including Monsters of Rock 1988 and opening for QUEEN on the biggest tour by the biggest band in the world, the lack of commercial sales success led to an exodus of band members, after struggling for a few years with a new singer in Mats Levén (now singing for CANDLEMASS) the band decided to hang it up. Fast forward a decade and the surprise success of a compilation album leads to the reformation of the band with original singer Robert Ernlund and further success with their comeback album “Coup de Grace”. The band were back and determined to capitalise on this good fortune. A further two LP releases brings us to the current day, and this, the fourth album of the second era of TREAT, the ominously titled “The Endgame”.

Freudian Slip” opens the album with a wistful slice of melody, it is driving and upbeat, but there is an undertone of melancholy to it. Anders Wikström wastes no time at all in reminding us of his considerable skills as the song contains an extended and incredibly slick guitar solo. The vocals are spot on, the 80s come roaring back to life with the pristine harmonies. There’s a bit of a cringeworthy “Uhhhh!” to finish the song, but I can forgive that. “Rabbit Hole” is up next with a classic Hard Rock riff, a catchy lyrical hook, and a huge chorus.

Fourth track “Home of The Brave” should get special mention, after an anticipation inducing piano and keyboard intro, the guitars kick in with a classic twin harmony with a Celtic twist, strongly reminding of THIN LIZZY. The comparison ends there though as the song, an incredibly catchy, fist pumping anthem sounds nothing at all like Lynott & Co. With another stellar guitar solo slicing the track in half, this track is AOR heaven. “Both Ends Burning” seems as though it is going to be a ballad, but pivots instead to a mid-tempo foot tapper with a tight low riff and driving bass that shows some Metal influence. “My Parade,” has a bit of balladry about the verses, but the neat descending melody in the choruses, blues-based guitars that interject throughout and a Beatles-like na-na-na singalong lift it into an accomplished pop song.

A genuine ballad comes along in the form of “Magic,” the guitar solo is sublime, but the song perhaps a little overly repetitive. After a straightforward melodic earworm in “Carolina Reaper” we have something that really stands out in penultimate song “Dark to Light” which mashes up their established melodic AOR sound with something quite a bit darker and less circumspect. While there is still a soaring chorus to get everyone singing along, the riffs are doomier and grungier, there’s more space given to each instrument, and the songs paints more in shades than the bright colours of the rest of the album. “To The End of Love” dials back the risk taking for an up-tempo ballad to close the album in a more familiar and safe manner, nothing world shattering but a solid end to a skilled and masterful release.

While not straying too far from their signature sound, TREAT have proved again that they are a melodic force to be reckoned with, continuing to release ambitious productions with stellar song writing well into their fourth decade as a band. Does the title suggest a genuine “Endgame” for the band? Let’s hope not, but if this were their swansong, they would be going out on a high.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Freudian Slip
2. Rabbit Hole
3. Sinbiosis
4. Home of The Brave
5. Both Ends Burning
6. My Parade
7. Wake Me When It’s Over
8. Jesus from Hollywood
9. Magic
10. Carolina Reaper
11. Dark to Light
12. To the End of Love
Lineup:
Robert Ernlund - Vocals
Anders Wikström - Guitars
Patrick Appelgren - Keyboards
Nalle Påhlsson - Bass
Jamie Borger – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music SRL
     


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