Released on September 23, 2022 (Black Lodge Records)
Every year, there seems to be a newer band that comes out of the woodwork that borrows very heavily and expertly from Aussie rockers AC/DC. Back in 2019, Stripwired‘s album Another Shot landed the #2 spot on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. It helped of course that Stripwired‘s lead vocalist Darren Caperna was one of a handful of people that was selected to audition for AC/DC and replace (as it turns out temporarily) Brian Johnson back in 2016 when the latter was experiencing some major hearing issues. In 2021, Spanish rockers Blackøwl released their phenomenal AC/DC sounding album Fly Away, which finished at #4 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2021.
This year, it’s Swedish rockers Ström‘s turn to release an album filled with expectedly crafted AC/DC like tracks. The one big difference between Ström and the other AC/DC influenced bands is that the former’s lyrics are in the Swedish language. Although I was definitely attracted to the music itself, I have to say that listening to singing in a language that I completely do not understand does take something away from the greatness of the songs. Given that the majority of hard rock / heavy metal bands seem to go with English lyrics no matter which country that they are from, I was intrigued about this and asked the band members in an interview why they had elected to sing in Swedish rather than English. The band’s response was that “the catalyst… was probably that Jesus Christ Superstar was performed in Swedish and that [their singer] Zdravko [Zizmond] realized that there was something special about it, [as] you got to the core and heart of the lyrics in a completely different way.” When I asked the band members how singing in Swedish would enhance their international appeal, they humbly replied that they hadn’t thought that their songs would be of any interest outside Scandinavia.
Putting aside the Swedish lyrics, Ström have come up with some rocking songs. The opening track “Tiden Sjunger” has a real familiar feel to it, and likely because on top of the familiar sounding guitar riffs, the beginning of the verses sound awfully close the AC/DC song “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” As is customary with any AC/DC album, the guitar riffs are given plenty of time to breathe and sink in such as the opening lick for “Ta Mig Tailbacks.” Sometimes, the band does stray away from the AC/DC formula such as on “Ensam Är Stark” where there are some female background vocals mid-way through that will make you feel like you’re listening to a totally different band. It is obvious that Ström have the potential to be able to branch out from their AC/DC influences in a positive way.
This is a record that I can put on and easily rock to from start to finish. Every song is a good one but I really wish that the singing / lyrics would have been in the English language. Hopefully, Ström will consider this for their next album. I have to think that singing in the English language would open up a lot of doors for the band outside the Scandinavian countries.
01. Tiden Sjunger
03. Ta Mig Tillbacks
04. Vass Tunga
05. Ensam Är Stark
06. Ungt Blod (Genom Ett Gammalt Hjärta)
07. Gul & Blà
09. Sådan Son, Sådan Far
Zdravko Zizmond – lead vocals
Calle Sjöqvist – guitars, backing vocals
Johan Siljedahl – guitars, acoustioc guitars, percussion, backing vocals
Joel Carnstam – bass, backing vocals
Tomas Salonen – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Julia Atterheim – additional vocals
Emelie Berkesi – additional vocals
Lina Granehäll – additional vocals
Karin Råhlin – additional vocals
Penki Sandkvist – additional vocals
Filip Svensson – additional vocals
Doris Zizmond – additional vocals
Hanna Zizmond – additional vocals
Produced by Ström
Engineered by Penki Sandkvist, Eric Ivarsson, Martin Bauer and Daniel Tegnvallius
Mixed and mastered by Johan Foreman Löwenström
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, December 2022
Ström‘s “Tiden Sjunger” video:
Ström‘s “Ta Mig Tillbacks” video:
Ström‘s “Gul & Blà” video:
Ström‘s “Ensam Är Stark” video: