Metal To Infinity

When a band looses it’s guitar player to a major act, two things can happen.  The remaining members split up in a dead end street, or secondly, they find a suitable replacement that fits like a glove in the musical direction that the band originally followed.  Last thing suits very well after the departure of Pontus Norgren to Hammerfall. They recruited Henrik Berggvist (formerly Tiamat and Southfork), who seems to fill the spot that Pontus left behind.  

The new album, already the third one in their young career, is called ''Clash Of The Elements', and this time, Blistering Records offered the band a deal.   Normally, a third one is the so called ‘make it or break it’ release, and we can ease the fans of the band, as they succeeded in recording and arranging 14 killer songs that are capable to attract many more fans of the Melodic Rock genre.  Without loosing their origins, the members of The Poodles (I still think it’s a very odd name), composed songs with a lot of melodic edges and outstanding vocal lines that are doing really well in the more mid-tempo and mid-pacer songs that are abundantly present.   

The album starts with ‘Too Much Of Everything’, and that’s a surprise from the very first seconds. This mid tempo songs doesn’t take you immediately by the throat, so it’s a bit of wait and see.  The vocals of Jakob Samuel are really impressive and convincing, and in my opinion this is one of the best vocalists from Sweden since the last five years. He has an open voice, but with a slightly hoarse and rougher approach.  The song indicates immediately that a lot of harmonies are yet to come! 

‘Caroline’ is the next song and with big chorus lines and a lot of melody.  A cool track that gives you a direct impression of what’s yet to come. If they would use this track as opener, I would say that this is an obvious decision.  The third track is called ‘Like No Tomorrow’, and is continuing in the same style, although this arrangement is heavier than the previous songs.  The chorus lines are again bombastic, but musical wise, we hear heavy guitar riffs in the background, and that’s the major difference so far. And that’s exactly how this album is running further.  The songs have enough variety, the vocals are really outstanding and newcomer Henrik confirms that he was the best choice! 

Only one little remark can be made….  Although the songs are all above the average and perhaps the best a man can get nowadays, there might be a little overdose on balladry.  The fans from their previous albums ‘Metal Will Stand Tall’ and ‘Sweet Trade’ will love it, new fans will be attracted, but if they continue this way, they might end in a blind alley.  I hope that they will keep in mind that the debut album was called Metal Will Stand Tall, but I missed a bit balls and heaviness in this new release… 

My rating: 86 / 100 (Review by Patrick De Sloover)