SCREAMING FOR ADRENALINE
Released April 26, 2013 (Spinefarm Records)
01. Screaming For Adrenaline
02. Anthem For The Young ‘N’ Restless
03. Relentless Renegades
04. Sweet Sensation
05. Nothing Compares To You
06. High On You
07. Let’s Get The Party Started
09. Loving You (Is Just For Playin’)
10. Aiming High
11. Let Me (Lay My Love On You)
Japanese Bonus Tracks:
12. Standing At The Crossroads
13. Hostile Shakedown
Arttu ‘Archie’ Kuosmanen – vocals and lead guitar
Joonas ‘Johnny’ Parkkonen – lead guitar and backing vocals
Mitja ‘Middy’ Toivonen – bass and backing vocals
Tapani ‘Taz’ Fagerstrom – drums and backing vocals
Produced by Santa Cruz. Co-produced by Ilkka Herkman.
Sometimes us hard rock fans are very thankful that Europe is still constantly cranking out amazing high quality hard rock bands while we in North America continue to be flooded with lip syncing pop divas. Santa Cruz is actually NOT from Sweden, the UK, nor Italy, but rather hail from Helsinki, Finland despite their borrowed California name. Many European hard rock bands are signed by some big record labels, unlike their North American indie counterparts, and after releasing a 6-song EP called Anthems For The Young ‘N’ Restless in 2011, Santa Cruz was picked up by Spinefarm Records (home of Children Of Bodom, Reckless Love, Michael Monroe) and their new full-length debut album Screaming For Adrenaline is now distributed by Universal Music.
Santa Cruz is comprised of four young guys all aged around 21, so it’s not surprising that their music is full on testosterone-infused classic party rock. The bulk of their influences seem to draw largely from the best of the late ’80s Sunset Strip era, with a heavy dose borrowed from Guns N’ Roses at times but also from the Northeast sounds of Skid Row and Spread Eagle. The dual lead guitar attack of Archie and Johnny have their Slash-style riffs and solos down pat while Archie also seems to have perfected an Axl Rose-esque scream. With that being said these guys can really play and the songs on Screaming For Adrenaline hold up against anything released from the era. Johnny, bassist Middy and drummer Taz all perform back-up vocals that are reminiscent of Van Halen at times — there seems to be a Michael Anthony-styled tenor somewhere in there that rounds out the backing vocals nicely.
The catchy up-tempo in-your-face hard rockers (and there’s quite a lot of them) include the title track, “Let’s Get The Party Started”, “Alive”, and the blistering “Relentless Renegades”. The very heavy on melody stadium sing-along anthems include “Loving You (Is Just For Playin’)”, “Sweet Sensation” and “Nothing Compares To You”.
This is hands down a hard rock album that fans of the late ’80s and early ’90s era will strongly enjoy. With a push by Spinefarm Records, and a distribution deal with Universal Music, Santa Cruz may be the next hard rock act to gain recognition alongside other sleaze heavyweights like Hardcore Superstar and Crashdiet.
Reviewed by Mark Hovarth for Sleaze Roxx, August 2013