Speed Stroke: ‘Scene of The Crime’

Released on November 6, 2020 (Street Symphonies Records / Burning Minds Music Group)

As each year comes to an end, I get worried that I might have bypassed a terrific album that should make it onto the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year. There were two albums in particular in late 2020 that I thought I’d better pick up before year’s end to make sure that I gave them a solid listen. The two albums were Latvian rockers Bloody HeelsIgnite The Sky and Italian sleaze rockers Speed Stroke‘s Scene of The Crime. I have some history with both bands so to speak since I reviewed earlier albums from each band. Back in 2015, I reviewed Bloody Heels‘ EP Summer Nights and I wasn’t impressed. Although I know that Bloody Heels have made great strides since that EP, I suppose first impressions can be lasting ones as I’ve never gotten into the band.

Speed Stroke on the other hand delivered a very good album in 2016 called Fury and which I reviewed about a year later. Although I really liked the album at the time, I never played it again after reviewing it and mostly because there is so much new music that makes its way one way or another to the Sleaze Roxx headquarters. Nevertheless and despite having kind of forgotten how much I liked Fury, after hearing the first few singles from Speed Stroke‘s latest studio album Scene of The Crime, I knew that it was worth purchasing and checking out. As it turns out, I think that Scene of The Crime is even better than Fury and shows a band that has matured over the last couple of years. If anything, Speed Stroke‘s latest record reminds me of the sounds from the bands covered by The New Wave of Hair Metal‘s Facebook page. Speed Stroke frontman Jack‘s vocals during the verses of the opening track “Heartbeat” reminds me quite a bit of the singing from Crashdïet‘s lead vocalist Gabriel Keyes. I consider Crashdïet to be at the forefront of The New Wave of Hair Metal sound so hearing these familiar sounds on the opening track of Scene of The Crime automatically makes me lump Speed Stroke in this pretty “new category.”

Although Scene of The Crime initially made me think of The New Wave of Hair Metal, I hear a lot of Use Your Illusion era Guns N’ Roses influences on the album. The ballad “No Love” has an epic feel to it not quite at the “November Rain” level but certainly at a higher level than anything that can be found on Fury. The seemingly Spanish flamenco music towards the end of the song is a puzzling addition but ends up working at an acceptable level. The Guns N’ Roses influences don’t end on “No Love” as the title track has a very Slash sounding guitar riff but at the same time a cool groove reminiscent of classic Extreme. When I first started listening to Scene of The Crime, I felt like the songs were “too busy” with a lot of instrumentation along with twists and turns. However, that is also what keeps me coming back for more when listening to the record because I always seem to find some part that I had not quite heard before each time that I listen to it.

While I don’t find that there are any songs that I want to skip on Scene of The Crime, the one drawback is that there does not seem to be that no anthems that stick out head and shoulder above the rest of the songs. All of the tracks are solid ones but that elusive anthem just does not seem to be there. My favourites off Scene of The Crime are deep into the album and consist of “Red Eyes,” “Out of Money” (with its very Eddie Van Halen influenced guitar intro) and “Hero No. 1” which each all benefit from a perhaps more simpler delivery and have easy to sing along choruses. At the end of the day, if you like any of the bands that people likely consider to be The New Wave of Hair Metal, Speed Stroke‘s new album Scene of The Crime will be a very solid addition to your discography. This is definitely an album that would have been in the running for the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2020 and had there been a Top 15, there is little doubt in my mind that Scene of The Crime would have made the cut.

Track List:
01. Heartbeat
02. Scene of The Crime
03. After Dark
04. Soul Punx
05. No Love
06. Red Eyes
07. Out of Money
08. Who Fkd Who
09. One Last Day
10. Hero No. 1

Band Members:
Jack – vocals
Andrew – drums
D.B. – lead guitar
Fungo – bass
Michael – rhythm guitar

Additional Musician:
Michael Crimson – piano (5), keyboards (5)

Produced by Speed Stroke

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, February 2021

Speed Stroke‘s “Who Fkd Who” lyric video:

Speed Stroke‘s “Soul Punx” video: