BEG FOR IT
Released on June 3, 2009 (Nuclear Blast)
01. This Worm’s For Ennio
02. Beg For It
03. Into Debauchery
04. Shades Of Grey
05. Nervous Breakdown
06. Hope For A Normal Life
07. Don’t Care ‘Bout Your Bad Behaviour
08. Remove My Brain
09. Spit It Out
10. Illegal Fun
11. Take ‘Em All Out
12. Innocent Boy
Jocke Berg – vocals
Vic Zino – guitar
Martin Sandvik – bass
Magnus “ADDE” Andreasson – drums
Anders Ehlin – synthesizers
Stefan sporsen – trumpets
Biffen – percussion
Olof Lindberg – backing vocals
Axel Karlsson – backing vocals
Oscar Carlquist – backing vocals
Mixed and recorded by Roberto Laghi and Hardcore Superstar.
Mastered by Dragan Tanaskovic.
It’s hard to call the new Hardcore Superstar album a ‘sequel’, as they’ve been putting out records fairly regularly for over ten years. But since my initial introduction to the band were recent releases like 2007’s Dreamin’ In A Casket and their 2005 self-titled release, I looked forward to Beg For It with the same fervor and intensity that Star Wars geeks awaited the ‘Prequels’. The difference is; I was not disappointed.
I will admit, however, that I was not immediately enamored with Beg For It from the very first listen. After all, following the aforementioned bombastic releases, my expectations were extremely high. The band has proven to be somewhat of a musical chameleon over the years, morphing into the ‘Street Metal’ (their own term for their genre) of current efforts. Early releases are a far cry from the aggressive in-your-face approach of recent work, not to mention the untimely departure of lead guitarist Thomas Silver (responsible for some of the most memorable hooks and riffs that drew me to the band in the first place); these factors led to my cautious, yet largely objective, evaluation of Beg For It.
The album begins with an instrumental track, “This Worm’s For Ennio”. I’m not gonna lie, this slow (did I just hear whistling??) track was a far cry from recent album’s first cuts. Whereas “Need No Company” and “Kick On The Upperclass” set the tone for what was to follow, on this CD “This Worm’s For Ennio” had me a little worried initially. Thankfully, my concerns were quickly extinguished as title track, “Beg For It” (appropriately released as the album’s first single) launched 3 minutes and 57 seconds of ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ to my ears that contains a grinding rhythm section and a stellar guitar hook worthy of me breaking out my air guitar. Great stuff! Band newcomer, lead guitarist Vic Zino (formerly of fellow Swedish act Crazy Lixx) more than fills Silvers (big) shoes on this track… and throughout the entire album.
If “Beg For It” was the appetizer, then “Into Debauchery” is the main course. This is exactly what drew me to HCSS in the first place! The rhythm section of Martin Sandvik and Magnus “ADDE” (Sweden’s version of ADHD??) Andreasson perpetuate a fast and furious pace guaranteed to get, and sustain, your Monday morning shower’s head banging. Believe it or not, the song bridge is what got me, then HELD me without mercy for the duration of the track. That interlude just may be my new ringtone, it’s just that good!
Dabbling in lyrics related to mental illness, and the unenviable, undeniable decline into madness, subsequent tracks, “Nervous Breakdown”, “Hope For A Normal Life” and “Remove My Brain” continue the HCSS lyrical and musical onslaught. The later is, again, a classic track not to be ignored. While the lyrics describing killing one’s girlfriend by removing her brain/head are catchy in their own right, the rhythm section again owns the song. YES, that IS cowbell (the staple of any good sleaze/glam/hair band). ‘Nuff Said!
Not surprisingly, lead singer Jocke Berg excels throughout the album; running the gamut of vocal diversity. His stylistic approach ranges from the throat-bleeding (I gargle with hot gravel to get the taste of blood in my mouth) screams of “Spit It Out” to the softer “Hope For A Normal Life”. What Berg lacks in (*cough*) traditional vocal ‘talent’ he makes up for in raw, unbridled enthusiasm for his craft and pushing the limits of his ‘instrument’.
For all intents and purposes, HCSS has flown well below the rock radar in the United States; the disappointing fact is that, to date, their music has gone largely unnoticed in America. Hopefully, with the release of Beg For It, all that should change; providing a larger, appreciative audience for their flavor of ‘Street Music’. For fans of all things hard rock, this album is a MUST HAVE!
Reviewed by Steve Sorensen for Sleaze Roxx, July 2009.