(Gain Music Entertainment)
Release date: April 20th 2015
Hardcore Superstar are back for another spin around the block with the newly titled album 'HCSS'. After 21 years the band looks to return to its roots and rediscover the vibes that laid the foundation decades ago. Using inspiration from their 1994 demos, they set out to reinvent themselves using the core sound but in a fresh contemporary way.
The opening track conjures classic Hardcore Superstar. 'Don't Mean Shit' hits with pace and unapologetic lyrics that are spit fuelled with attitude and aggression. The soaring chorus of 'Party 'Til I'm Gone' along with a memorable guitar riff plays off each other creating a bombastic hook that sticks with you.
'The Cemetery' works hard to get to the payoff. Its mellow intro evolves into a series of bouncy verses. It builds the intensity until the hook comes crashing through to open up the song. The undeniable vibe of 'Off With Their Heads' is an instant standout. This song doesn't follow the formula of the previous songs but lays back and allows you to get lost in the bass line and entrancing vocals.
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The unexpected sounding 'Fly' has the band searching for a different feel and sound. An acoustic interlude leads into a trippy psychedelic laced ride with a pleading chorus. Clocking in at over seven minutes you travel along its peaks and valleys until the fitting closing section. Its just one of a few tracks that don’t instantly jump out at you but in time will find a way back into rotation as you explore the album.
'Ocean' is another song that sits in the weeds on the first listen. It lacks the big chorus that we've come to expect. The driving guitar gives the liftoff as it blasts into the verses, which is where you find the hook of the song. The stitching of distinct sections together create a well-crafted final product.
The second single, 'Touch The Sky', has a 70s feel to it. A big fat groove drives this thing from start to finish. You just can't help but bob your head or clap your hands to it. 'Growing Old' gets the boys back to loud and aggressive after the synth opener. It's a straight forward rocker with the typical Hardcore Superstar chorus and ripping guitars.
The first single released was 'Glue' and it doesn't make an appearance until track nine. It contains a strong melodic drive and enticing chorus. The closer, 'Messed Up For Sure', is a basher with a bit of a surprise musical interlude in the mid-section.
'HCSS' contains some classic Hardcore Superstar material. Embracing the traits of power, riffs, attitude, and soaring choruses that have been pinned like a badge on their collective chests. However, there are tracks that I didn't expect and avenues that I haven't seen this band walk before.
This album relies much more on groove and feel than throwing power haymakers. The production isn't as slick as previous releases and fosters much more of an organic approach. On the first pass through, the brilliance of this album may be missed and the approach misplaced.
Given time this material will shine through and stand among some of the best material Hardcore Superstar has done.
Jocke Berg - Vocals
Vic Zino - Guitars
Martin Sandvik - Bass
Adde Andreasson - Drums