Released on November 5, 2021 (Frontiers Music Srl)
I fell in love with rock and roll when I was going through some stuff, violent bullying, at school because of my vision disability. Those who were my best friends became self aware at about age 11 and suddenly I, who had not changed a bit, was public enemy number one. I needed that positive message that wasn’t preachy and instead was a positive influence on me. I needed that rebellion to be the soundtrack of my life then just as I need it now. In that time, the early ’90s, I loved bands that were on the decline in popularity because of changes in society… Someone pulled the plug around 1993 as Crazy Lixx says in “Anthem For America.” But, those songs, the same ones I’ve listened to for 30 years, still speak to me and still are a large part of what I listen to daily. But, thanks in no small part to Sleaze Roxx, I have found new bands that have that same renegade spirit, rebellion, and that make the same melodic hard rock that sooths my soul. Without question, the band that hooked me into the Swedish movement of what some term the New Wave of Hair Metal was Crazy Lixx. Ever since the 2010 release of New Religion, I’ve been on board. And, 11 years later, the boys are back and deliver another masterpiece.
Street Lethal, which resembles the logo of the classic Capcom video game Street Fighter… And by the way, why were there so many Street Fighter II versions? It got to be such a running joke that many wondered if Capcom was capable of counting to three. The series is well beyond six now so clearly they eventually did. But, I do ponder if Crazy Lixx will release multiple versions and formats of Street Lethal II: Turbo Edition, Tournament Edition, Championship Edition, and whatever else Capcom pulled out of their keysters back in those early ’90s. Anyway, back on point, Street Lethal is the 2021 release and it follows suit with what attracted me to this band in the first place — powerful lyrics, catchy guitars, and a genuine vibe. There is something very true about Crazy Lixx and it shines through on almost every record. None more than on Street Lethal.
The album opens with a very Japanese sounding kabuki music thing. It is called “Enter The Dojo.” An interesting start. Not sure I fully get it unless it plays to the Street Fighter theme? But, “Rise Above” is up next. This was the second single put out and it is a very catchy rock track. We have hit the ground running! “Anthem For America” is the perfect song. As a proud American, I must admit I was nervous when I saw this video pop up on YouTube. After all, Crazy Lixx is Swedish and I think over the past decade, hearing the rest of the world express their view on America and American politics has made me not want to hear any more opinions from nations with far more problems than ours. But, Crazy Lixx aren’t presenting a left or right view. They are accurately describing the status of the American pop culture machine, which has become a political entity.
“Somebody pulled the plug around 1993”, clearly talks about the hard nosed media push to stop the rock party by making a rock party a downer by Seattle scum suffering from manic depression. Some of us, myself included, never got over that media coup. And, as the song says, it has never been the same since. As was discussed in the comments on one of the Sleaze Roxx news posts, American pop music has become more about thought control than music. Think of hundreds of Hollywood actors at an award show congratulating themselves for a job not very well done singing along to a politically charged song about “hands up” based on a lie that has been proven to have never happened — thought control. Back on point, the song is a great anthem for America showing more American pride than msot American musicians have shown in 30 years… Maybe since 1993? Go figure.
Next up is “The Power” which has a Queen-like vibe. This inspirational anthem has a very “you can do it” vibe which seems to be the vibe of the album. Some of the lyrics are really on point. “All your life, you were told it can’t be done.” Boy, that landed. It’s a very good song with a very uplifting message. “No one remembers the one that quits the race.” Shame that is no longer true either as Simone Biles proved during the 2020 (2021) Summer Olympics. but, that’s a product of the 1993 unplugging as well — excuses for losers. “Reach Out” also got the video treatment from Frontiers. It’s a very catchy song but probably the most ’80s pop rock sounding of all the songs… That isn’t a criticism. It just is a reality. “Final Fury” is an instrumental. After the lengthy Japanese inspired intro, this instrumental sounds more Crazy Lixx-like. It feels like there could have been lyrics laid over the top or it was pieces of another song that could have been mixed to include lyrics. I don’t know. It falls a little flat after such a strong first series of fantastic tracks.
“Street Lethal” — the title track — is next. Aside from “Rise Above”, this might be the fastest tempo song on the album and really has a lot of that magic from their last effort, Forever Wild. “With the ring of the bell” kind of hits home given my ties to pro wrestling. Very cool. I would love to hear an Impact Wrestling, AEW, or WWE use a track like this as one of their pay-per-view themes. Sadly, all three have taken a turn towards garbage music. “Caught Between The Rock N’ Roll” has a “My Medicine” kind of vibe from New Religion. It’s very catchy, but maybe less of a slam dunk than some of the other tracks. “In The Middle of Nothing” is a mid-tempo rocker, probably the closest thing to a ballad. Not bad. Very catchy track. “One Fire – One Goal” might be the best written track on the album. Very ’80s rock sounding… Think Bryan Adams if he was a little more rocking. “Thief in The Night” is a solid track to end the album on. The fade at the end seems to be nearly half the song so they don’t go for much of a fast getaway here. But, it is catchy.
As a whole, the album sounds a lot like something that would fit between the New Religion and Riot Avenue albums of Crazy Lixx and less like the two most recent efforts. Their self-titled album in 2014 is my favorite of theirs but New Religion might be, without much argument, their most popular perhaps? There are a few times that the album sounds like that song in the Teen Titans Go! movie where Michael Bolton sings “Inspirational Song” as almost a parody of uplifting ’80s music. And, you know what? I’m perfectly OK with that. Of all the New Wave of Hair Metal bands, if that is even a phrase anybody but me uses, Crazy Lixx have captured the magic of the genre best. While others verge on punky roots and maybe live in that Skid Row Slave To The Grind space (said with Crashdïet in mind), it is Crazy Lixx who capture the good vibes, uplifting, yet wild and crazy feeling of the genre we all love.
The fact that a large audience that loves this kind of music is available on Sirius XM‘s Hair Nation but never will hear any of these songs on this station because it wasn’t recorded between 1981 and 1993 is absurd… I don’t view the hair metal, glam metal, sleaze rock, or whatever fancy name we come up with for it as something that was a moment in time but a type of rock and roll that can be and still is created today both by some of the veterans from the genre that either are still around or didn’t turn south on Hard Rock Avenue but also by newer bands as well. We need to encourage new music that has the fire of this genre. Or, we could lose it. This record, Street Lethal, is fantastic. I don’t know where it will rank on my personal Top 5 list as a Sleaze Roxx contributor. But, I know it will rank. And, given the crowded field this year, that is a compliment in and of itself!
01. Enter The Dojo
02. Rise Above
03. Anthem For America
04. The Power
05. Reach Out
06. Final Fury
07. Street Lethal
08. Caught Between The Rock N’ Roll
09. In The Middle of Nothing
10. One Fire – One Goal
11. Thief In The Night
Danny Rexon – lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, additional instrumentation
Jens Anderson – bass
Joél Cirera – drums
Chrisse Olsson – lead and rhythm guitar
Jens Lundgren – lead and rhythm guitar
Produced and mastered by Danny Rexon
Mixed by Tobias Lindell
Recorded, engineered and edited by Danny Rexon and Martin Jönsson
Crazy Lixx‘s “Anthem For America” video:
Crazy Lixx‘s “Rise Above” video:
Crazy Lixx‘s “Street Lethal” single: