Kategori: Musik (sida 1 av 2)

Skeletoon – Nemesis

Album: Nemesis
Artist: Skeletoon
Label: Scarlet Records
Released: September 25th, 2020
Tracks: 12

1. Prelude: Falling Galaxies
2. Brighter Than 1000 Suns
3. Will You Save Us All?
4. Nemesis
5. Starseeker
6. Cold the Night
7. Follow Me Home
8. Wake Up the Fire
9. Il Tramonto Delle Ere
10. Arcana Opera
11. The Nerdmetal Superheroes
12. Carry On

Some bands just don’t rest on their laurels. Case in point: Italy’s Skeletoon, who released their latest album, They Never Say Die (see my review here), a mere 18 months ago (that’s March 2019 for those of you reading this review at a later date). That album was a hearty and fun tribute to the cult flick The Goonies, coated in that sugary version of European power metal the Italians seem to be so keen on. And now it’s time for the successor, menacingly named Nemesis. There’s no menace here, however, but abounding happiness and positivity.

Skeletoon label themselves ”nerd metal”, drawing inspiration from comic books, computer games and movies, and Nemesis is apparently the first part in a three part sagas, the following two parts to be released over the coming years (oh joy!). If the quality of those forthcoming albums is anything like this album, we’re in for a treat. Actually, we’re in for a treat right now, because Nemesis blows They Never Say Die, an excellent album in its own right, right out of the water.

After a short intro, ”Brighter Than 1000 Suns” starts with a falsetto from vocalist Tomi Fooler, setting the bar for what’s to come. Double bass abounds as we’re led to a chorus that’s the epitome of happiness and positivity. A great start. Now, many power metal bands would follow the obligatory speedy opener with a mid-tempo track, but not Skeletoon. No, ”Will You Save Us All?” continues the high speed of the opener and treats us to a guest appearance by Alessandro Conti (Trick or Treat, Twilight Force) as well. The falsettos on this one are unreal, carrying that sweet ass chorus us power metallers so desire.

Only with the title track things are slowed down a bit. This is actually sort of the black sheep of the family, featuring some dirty guitars and harsh vocals in the verses, supplied by Melissa Bonny (Rage of Light). I really didn’t care for this track all too much in the beginning, but it grew on me, bringing the necessary dynamics to the album. Feels like I’m repeating myself here, but the chorus is really catchy too.

”Starseeker” brings us back into sing along land again. What a chorus! Not as fast as the two opening tracks, but equally anthemic. Now, I don’t have access to the lyrics, but from what I’ve managed to gather the whole theme of the album is heroes, and how regular people can be heroic given the right circumstances. The aforementioned track illustrates this beautifully. ”Cold the Night” is as close to a ballad as you will come, and if there ever were a time to bring out the lighters, it is now. Yet another brilliant chorus from the guys.

”Follow Me Home” is a merry speedster resembling something Freedom Call could do, without being an overt tribute. The guys of Skeletoon seem to like speed, and I’m not one to complain. Mid-tempo track ”Wake Up the Fire” is the first song I don’t really care for. I don’t know, it just didn’t gel with me. It’s got a nice guest guitar solo by Bill Hudson (NorthTale), though.

Now we’ve arrived at ”Il Tramonto Delle Ere”, undoubtedly the jewel in the crown, the cherry on top of the dessert. I could easily write a thousand words about this track alone, but at the same time, no words would do it justice. Sung entirely in Italian, this song is no ballad (which you might have thought, seeing other Italian bands – cough, Rhapsody of Fire, cough – having a penchant for penning ballads in their native language), but resides somewhere between mid and up-tempo. The title translates to ”Sunset of the Ages”, and features verses and chorus so anthemic and glorious they’ll blow your head clean off, and, yeah, it’s kinda cheesy but there is no better word for it: This song is heroic. It also features a shitload of falsetto singing (is there nothing Mr. Fooler can’t do with his voice?). Seriously, it sounds like he’s serenading life itself. You’ve just got to hear this. My favorite track of the album by a country mile.

Time for the mini epic (around 8 minutes long) ”Arcana Opera”. It starts off – yeah, you guessed it, speedily and features a chorus that gets stuck in your head like glue the first time you hear it. We’re treated to guest vocals by Giacomo Voli of the aforementioned Rhapsody of Fire, as well as guitar contributions by his band mate Roberto De Micheli. The song is very dynamic, with slower portions to complement the fast parts. Returning to the chorus, the song rounds off nicely. ”The Nerdmetal Superheroes” is a track that’s taken me a few spins to appreciate, even though I didn’t really care for it in the beginning. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Edguy’s earlier days, although being neither a parody nor a tribute. I reckon it will grow on me.

Rounding of the album is a more than passable cover of the Angra evergreen ”Carry On”, one of my favorite power metal songs ever. There is no replacing André Matos (R.I.P.) ever, but Skeletoon manage to stay faithful to the original in a very respectful way, so kudos to that!

To summarize this overly long review (yeah, I just can’t help myself when reviewing albums I really really love), what we have here is one of the best European (in both the geographical and genre sense) power metal albums released this year, and easily a contender for  album of the year. Skeletoon outdid themselves on this one, and I, for one, can’t wait to follow them wherever they go next. Nerd Metallers del mondo, unitevi!

Joachim Nordlund’s Dreams of Avalon – Beyond the Dream

Album: Beyond the Dream
Artist: Joachim Nordlund’s Dreams of Avalon
Label: Metalville Records
Released: August 28th, 2020
Tracks: 11

1. Young Wild Hearts
2. Under the Gun
3. Shining Light
4. Bleed for Me
5. Run for Cover
6. Into the Night
7. On the Run
8. To Paris and Back
9. Stop
10. Black Demons
11. Somewhere Tonight

I don’t normally listen to a lot of AOR, much less review it. But as chance would have it, I stumbled upon a YouTube teaser of a band/project called Joachim Nordlund’s Dreams of Avalon, and I was very impressed indeed.

Dreams of Avalon is – yep, you guessed it – spearheaded by one Joachim Nordlund, guitarist of Swedish heavy metal band Astral Doors. Apparently Nordlund is a big fan of 80’s melodic rock / AOR, and it shows. On this, his first solo offering, I believe he plays most instruments and handles the vocals as well.

With this record you get, essentially, damn fine 80’s melodic hard rock / AOR of the highest caliber. Nordlund knows what he’s doing, and his passion shines through. It’s as if we’re whisked back to the 80’s, a carefree time when you could cruise along in your car and blast feelgood rock on your stereo (or, if we go back to the present, your mp3 player).

Basically every song on Beyond the Dream is a feelgood rocker that manages to inject a happy vibe into your day. Seriously, it’s as if you’ve been served a glass of pure sunshine or have had vitamin C injected straight into your veins. These songs are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and brighten your day.

What’s impressive is how consistent the album is. There’s nary a clunker here, and with most songs clocking in at 3-4 minutes, the tunes never overstay their welcome. Add to that the fact that Nordlund is very talented instrumentally as well as vocally. In fact, he has a very warm and likable voice. Be aware of the fact that this album is very keyboard heavy (which is so 80’s!), so if you detest synths, well, this is not for you. For everybody else though, you’re in for a good time. And the guitars are very present, treating us to the occasional slick solo, so this is definitely a rock album.

Picking out favorite songs is not easy, since they’re all of such high quality. But some of my choice cuts are opener ”Young Wild Hearts”, ”Under the Gun” (which is slightly darker, if that’s even possible), ”Shining Light”, ”Run for Cover”, ”To Paris and Back” and ”Stop”. Yeah, I’m aware that’s about half of the album, but as I said, the quality is consistently high.

I guess I’ll have to stop this now or run the risk of becoming too fanboyish. But in essence, this is a gem that any lover of retro hard rock / AOR is sure to enjoy. With autumn approaching this is a welcome complement to good old regular sunlight and vitamin C, all of which are so necessary. Easily recommended.

Halén – Idleness

Album: Idleness
Artist: Halén
Label: Self-released
Released: April 3d, 2020
Tracks: 9

1. There’s No Use
2. Daydream
3. Tears
4. Empire
5. Labyrinth
6. Dreams
7. AnyMore
8. Wonders
9. Blown Away

It’s no secret I love power metal, especially the European variety with double bass drums, swirling keyboard runs and ridiculously high falsetto vocals, along with catchy choruses to boot. I’m far from alone in this, as another fine gentleman named Ola Halén (Shadows Past, ex-Insania Stockholm) has been churning out quality metal from his home studio for quite some time now. 2016 saw the release of Nackskott, his first proper solo outing (there are a couple of demos from the beginning of the century, but I feel Nackskott was a sort of fresh start for him, especially when it comes to production quality), and now we have the successor, aptly titled Idleness, a moniker that hearkens back to when he released two demos called just that under the Shadows Past banner back in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

Now, this can seem a bit confusing, but bear with me. Some of the songs on Idleness are re-recorded versions of songs already released way back when. If I’m not mistaken, there are four re-recorded songs and five new ones. Let’s break it down:

The album starts with ”There’s No Use”, which, at first, I felt lacked what should characterize an album opener. However, the song is a grower. Theatrical, choppy riffs lead into song that has a very progressive feel although not being really progressive at all. It has a dark atmosphere and needs a couple of listens to ignite. A solid opener, although I had expected more happiness. But good things come to those who wait.

The next song out is ”Daydream”, which is a moody affair with an ominous feeling you can’t really shake off. The vocals here are crystal clear and signature Halén, and with a catchy chorus to boot, things are really improving. This song was originally on Idleness pt. 2.

The Germans have a word called Geheimtipp which means, more or less, personal tip. I feel the song ”Tears” fits the bill. It’s starts off very emotionally and carries these sentiments throughout the song. It’s balladesque, but I’d hesitate to call this an all out ballad. It features a shitload of feelings and has a very hymnlike chorus. One of my favorites. You really need to hear this.

We move on to ”Empire”, which is underpinned by relentless drumming and has an emotional solo breakdown at around the 3:00 minute mark. What follows is a section that almost, nay it DOES, feel like something from a movie score. Choppy semi-progressive riffs set in, and the song ends on a high note.

”Labyrinth” also has that ominous feeling, a sense of foreboding. Some pretty high vocals from Ola drive the song forwards. You need to hear this a couple of times before it finally gels, but it’s so worth it.

”Dreams” is the first song on the album that can truly be categorized as ”happy metal”. And what a tune! Originally from Idleness pt. 1, it has all the qualities a song of this calibre needs. It starts out with a nice guitar solo over pretty fast drums and verses, which lead into an extremely catchy chorus. More soloing ensues at around 3:10. A treat for the ears, and a favorite!

”AnyMore” is the first true ballad of the album, and I must admit, first it did nothing for me. But boy is this song a grower. As you listen, acoustic guitars and Ola’s emotional vocals carry you to a part of the song (around 1:30) that is truly magical. I am reminded of the song ”Time Passes By” off Insania Stockholm’s 2007 opus Agony – Gift of Life in how the song seems to make a 180 degree shift and just morph into something glorious.

The next song up is called ”Wonders” and has an almost musical like feeling to it, like it could feature on a Broadway play. I really can’t describe it in any other way. You will need to take a listen.

Now, for the grand finale, we have the best song on the album, namely the ridiculously glorious ”Blown Away”. This song originally featured on the demo Idleness pt. 2, but has been revamped and rebooted and improved in every way. I’ve loved this tune since the first time I heard it, around 2004 or so. Double bass drums underpin a verse section with an extremely positive vibe that leads into an equally glorious chorus. The song remains speedy throughout and carries forth an atmosphere that makes you go ”yeah, things are gonna be alright after all”. The only thing I miss is the ”woah woah woah” section towards the end of the song that was on the original demo version, but it is still a truly spectacular way to end the album.

Now, I realize I haven’t said anything about the lyrics. My main gripe with many power metal bands today are the lyrics. While bands like Twilight Force, Rhapsody of Fire and Gloryhammer are enjoyable listens, I’m not really into the sword and sorcery, Dungeons & Dragons themed lyrics. I’ve always favored song lyrics that are more down to earth, that are about us humans and our struggles and hardships. Everything we do is, ultimately, pointless, but there are beacons of hope. The kind of lyrical imagery late Insania Stockholm employed. Thankfully Ola seems to share this sentiment. Nay, he understands this, on a level that is fundamentally linked to his own experiences. What he sings sounds genuine, because he’s been there. This elevates Idleness to a higher level, a level of absolute truth, if you will. I believe it’s called magic.

Skeletoon – They Never Say Die

Album: They Never Say Die
Artist: Skeletoon
Label: Scarlet Records
Released: March 8th, 2019
Tracks: 11

1. Hell-O
2. Hoist Our Colors
3. The Truffle Shuffle Army: Bizardly Bizarre
4. To Leave A Land
5. They Never Say Die
6. Last Chance
7. I Have The Key
8. The Chain Master
9. When Legends Turn Real
10. Farewell (Avantasia cover)
11. Goonies R Good Enough (Cyndi Lauper cover)

 

You can always count on the Italians to deliver the goods when it comes to power metal. Regardless if you prefer the bombastic and symphonic variety (Rhapsody of Fire, Ancient Bards), the more traditional, slightly progressive kind (Labyrinth, Vision Divine) or the balls to the wall straight up power metal bands (Derdian, Kaledon), there’s something for everyone.

And then there’s Skeletoon.

Standing firmly in the melodic power metal camp, these guys deliver their third album They Never Say Die, following on 2016’s The Curse of the Avenger and 2017’s Ticking Clock. They Never Say Die is a concept album, or a tribute if you will, to classic 80’s cult movie The Goonies. It’s apparent from the get go that the band are huge fans. You don’t need to have seen the movie to enjoy the album, but it certainly helps you get all the references.

Musically though, as stated, we’re in firm European melodic power metal territory. Basically every chorus is catchy as hell and made to sing along with. There’s a mix of faster and (slightly) slower tracks on the album, and it feels very balanced in that way. After a short and somewhat menacing spoken intro the band kicks into high speed antics with the opening track ”Hell-O”. Following on that song we have the slower, more mid-tempo rocker ”Hoist Our Colors”. It’s somewhat darker, which makes it an excellent counterpoint to the happy opening tune. Then comes the glorious, the joyous ”The Truffle Shuffle Army: Bizardly Bizarre” which, apart from getting the song title of the year award also delivers one of the most anthemic, happy and catchy choruses I’ve heard in a long time. Not only is this song a power metal masterpiece; it also features a guest appearance by Alessandro Conti (Trick or Treat, Twilight Force). What more could you ask for?

After ballad ”To Leave A Land” we have another glorious tune, namely the title track. The band shot a video for this one, and it was a great song to select for that endeavor. The chorus is yet again catchy as hell, and towards the end of the song the vocal lines turn really anthemic. I wish they’d extended that section of the song further, but as it stands, it’s still a cracker.

Conti isn’t the only vocalist guesting on the album. On mid-pace rocker ”Last Chance” you get to hear Michele Luppi flex his vocal chords, which he does very well. Morby from Domine sings on ”I Have The Key”, another high-speed scorcher that ups the ante even more when it comes to happy refrains. I realize I haven’t even mentioned the band’s charismatic frontman Tomi Fooler. My mistake. The falsettos he’s capable of are unreal, some of which he delivers on the aforementioned track. The album features more guest vocals. Rounding off the record are two cover songs, one being Avantasia’s ”Farewell”, a duet with Melissa Bonny and a take on Cyndi Lauper’s ”Goonies R Good Enough” with Giacomo Voli (Rhapsody of Fire).

All in all, this is a no-brainer for fans of (European) melodic power metal, and a high contender for inclusion in later year’s best lists. You probably won’t find bands as eager to cheer you up and put a smile on your face as Skeletoon. Highly recommended.

 

Interlude / Eels – Wooden Nickels


And you may not think much of me now
But I think so damn much of you

Don’t take any wooden nickels
When you sell your soul
A devil of a time awaits you
When the party is over
You’re on your own

En bloggrekommendation

Jag har upptäckt en utmärkt blogg: Butter tar ordet, heter den, och han som sköter den skriver om litteratur och musik. Många av de författare han skriver eller har skrivit om är också sådana jag uppskattar, exempelvis Ray Bradbury, Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges, Artur Lundkvist, Mircea Cărtărescu m. fl. Adressen till bloggen är http://buttertarordet.blogspot.se/.

Shadows Past – Perfect Chapter

Band: Shadows Past
Album: Perfect Chapter
Label: Doolittle Records
Release date: March 29th, 2013
Genre: Heavy/power metal

Although Shadows Past from Stockholm, Sweden was officially formed in 2005, prior to that, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ola Halén (ex-INSANIA) had been working on songs in his home studio for several years. Some of those songs would later end up as Shadows Past material, most famously perhaps Cry No More, which has become a sort of band anthem. The core of the band has always consisted of Ola and guitarist Jonatan Berg, and although several members have occupied the remaining positions, the line-up has now been solid for quite some time. Rounding out the ranks are Patrik Berg (bass, Jonatan’s brother) and brothers Staffan and Olle Lindroth (keyboards and drums respectively). With two demos as a  band under the belt, the band went into the studio to record a full-length and managed, at the end of 2012, to secure a record deal with Doolittle Group. And presto! Here we are, ready to immerse ourselves in the a Perfect Chapter of this merry metal book.

First things first for those who feel the need to pigeonhole musicians: These guys play heavy/power metal with some progressive touches. This is a very vague description, however, as there is more to the compositions of these guys than that. There is a solid foundation of riffs and a tight rhythm section, so the sound never gets wussy. Melody and catchiness are the main courses in this feast though. These guys pen catchy tunes like there is no tomorrow, and it is obvious they recognize and believe in a chorus when they see it. Thus, every song has a hook; some only take longer to develop, but rest assured they will all get to you. Most of the tunes were penned by Ola, but there is also a song written exclusively by Jonatan (Ladder of Life) and the opener (and what an opener! Very wisely put first) Wherever I Go was written by Staffan. This song is the epitome of what these guys are all about: A brooding verse section followed by an anthemic chorus to tear your face off. For more of that, do check out Who Am I and Impressed, the latter of which is power metal in the old-school Helloween way, and that is a compliment. As an added bonus, there is a section within the song that features the chorus to another song (which may or may not get re-recorded at a later time) that stems from Ola’s demo days. It’s just a snippet, but it is a very cool thing to do.


With these guys, it’s the small things I admire. Some songs feature growling by Ola, but it is done very sparingly and in a tasteful way, which adds to the dynamics. The end of opener Wherever I Go features lyrics sung in Swedish, which are never repeated. Things like that. Very unpredictable and therefore original. Also, there is none of that predictability concerning song order that is so prevalent among albums by many power metal bands, i.e. you have a fast opener, a mid-tempo, another mid-tempo, a ballad, a fast song etc. Nope. These songs feature slow and fast sections, grinding and melodic parts, lamenting croons and soaring choruses all within the same song. Did I mention dynamics?

Of course I am biased. I have followed these guys for a while. I like the genre they play, I like the songs they write and I like the fact that they are passionate about what they do. The playing is top notch, the production is pristine and the concept of the cover art and lyrics feels rather fresh. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself, though. Sure, there will always be minor gripes; sections of songs I liked better in the demo versions and the likes, and songs that were left out of the album entirely. But I have to review what is there, not what isn’t, right?

To sum it up: A vibrant and fresh debut album. Bombastically beautiful at times, headbangingly heavy at times, but always energetic and always relevant. Do give these guys a chance.

To Repel Ghosts

I write this alone in my head. I’ve poisoned every room in the house.

Mer Manics. Lifeblood (2004). Ytlige A. säger ”fantastiskt snyggt skivomslag” och djupe A. säger fantastiska, men melankoliska låtar.  ”1985”, ”The Love of Richard Nixon”, ”A Song For Departure” (kusligt lik The Mamas & The Papas ”California Dreamin'” i vissa partier) , ”To Repel Ghosts” (den mantraliknande refrängen!) och så den något hoppfulla ”Solitude Sometimes Is”. Man gjorde en rätt deppig platta med This Is My Truth, följde upp med den något spretigare Know Your Enemy (2001) och så var man tillbaka i det melankoliska, men nu mer nedskalat. Skulle nästan vilja säga intimt, om man nu kan det med Manics. Eller vad fan, jag gjorde ju just det.

Övrigt: Demonens namn är OCD. Jag navigerar mellan möbler och föremål i lägenheten som när man i barndomen lekte inte nudda mark. Jag slarvar med medikamenten och vet att det inte är bra. Intalar mig själv att det måste finnas en gräns för hur lågt jag får tillåta mig att sjunka.

Manic Street Preachers – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

Lyssnar på Manic Street Preachers This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998) och blir lite lätt nostalgisk. Minns när jag såg videon till ”If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” på tv (tror det var Voxpop) och fastnade direkt. Innan det hade jag inte hört en enda låt av bandet, i alla fall inte vad jag kunde minnas. Men där var något som slog an en ton med denna för bandet väldigt mörka låt – och tillika rätt deppiga skiva överlag – och jag blev ett fan. Sedan upptäckte jag någonstans att bandet hade många olika ansikten, och de flesta var lika bra. Man hade gått igenom många stilar: Allt från glamrock till vanlig rock till artrock till folk/acoustic, och alltid med en knivskarp känsla för melodi och – faktiskt – öra för poppiga refränger. Jag säger det utan ett uns ironi och med största respekt. Trummisen Sean Moores och sångaren/gitarristen James Dean Bradfields låtskrivartalanger mot bassisten Nicky Wires gudomliga textförfattande. Och så Bradfields röst ovanpå detta, ömsom svärtad, ömsom hoppfull, men alltid stark. Starkare än något.

Men This Is My Truth nu. Bakom CD-skivan i konvolutet citerade man den walesiske poeten R.S. Thomas, och jag skulle snart upptäcka att här var ett band som kunde blanda pop och intellekt. Citat av kända rockikoner blandades med författare, aktivister och personer som på ett eller annat sätt gjort avtryck i sin omvärld. Citatet av Thomas (i sin helhet):

The furies are at home in the mirror; it is their address. Even the clearest water, if deep enough, can drown. Never think to surprise them. Your face approaching ever so friendly is the white flag they ignore. There is no truce with the furies. A mirror’s temperature is always at zero. It is ice in the veins. Its camera is an x-ray. It is a chalice held out to you in silent communion, where gaspingly you partake of a shifting identity never your own.

Ett sammandrag av det fetade, NoTruce, skulle sedan bli mitt smeknamn på diverse internetforum under kommande år.

Skivan öppnar starkt med ”The Everlasting” och ”If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” (den senare är en av de coolaste låttitlar som någonsin kommits på.) Tempot är ganska långsamt och hypnotiskt. Vackra refränger kommer efter pulserande bryggor och i första hand tänker man inte på lyriken. Men när den sjunker in växer låtarna ännu mer, och man förstår att de är oskiljbara. ”You Stole The Sun From My Heart” och ”Tsunami” har ”gladare” melodier, men, återigen, texterna! Manics är inte ensamma om att para mörk lyrik med pop/rockrefränger, men få band känns så ”ärliga” och relevanta när de gör det. Plattans dynamik vinner dessutom på låtarnas placering, två ”mörka” melodier och sedan två ”ljusa”. ”I have got to stop smiling. It gives the wrong impression. I love you all the same” sjunger Bradfield i slutet av YSTSFMH och det är hemskt egentligen. ”Ready For Drowning” är femte låten och det är fantastiskt hur melodin går från dur till moll ca en halvminut in. Texten är, återigen, nattsvart. Med den titeln, who’d thought it?

Så som det ofta är med skivor man gillar skulle det gå att skriva om varje låt, men det känns överflödigt, då … tja, jag vet inte, men det är väl ändå så att jag mer vill att du ska lyssna på den och inte bara läsa den här texten. Visst, en dryg timme deppig rock med enstaka ljusglimtar (det finns faktiskt en hel del) kan låta mycket, men det är ju Manics. Det spelar egentligen ingen roll om du gillar genren eller bandet, skivan är värd din tid ändå.

Ett par sista ord om omslaget/estetiken: Bandet står på vad som ser ut att vara en asfalterad landningsbana någonstans. Alla är klädda i lössittande kläder à la Micke Nyqvist när han dricker en mustig Zinfandel i skärgården. Bandets video till ”If You Tolerate This …” är en rätt futuristisk historia med killarna i vita overaller mot en turkosblå bakgrund och slangar inkopplade där bak. Parallellen till ett samhälle där avidentifiering och könlöshet via extrem konsumerism var inte särskilt svår att dra när man ser familjen med igenmurade ögon och munnar och när Bradfield i slutet går samma öde till mötes (och med den symbolisk streckkodsscanner i handen) är det nästan övertydligt. Oavsett är det mer än en låt – det är ett statement och Manics har alltid varit en grupp som velat säga något, så det är inte särskilt förvånande. Det är lite ironiskt att just den här skivan, som är en av bandets mörkaste, var den som banade väg för bandet här i kalla norden. I alla fall var det så att den kom in i mitt liv vid precis rätt tidpunkt, och sedan dess har Manics av och till varit ett av mina favoritrockband (och det säger väl en del om den som vanligtvis föredrar att lyssna på tyngre musik).

Mr. Bungle – California

Så. För att bryta tystnaden. En nostalgisk tillbakablick på det som var:

Året var väl 2000 eller däromkring. Jag jobbade extra med att dela ut tidningar (Everyday, minns någon den kortlivade gratistidningen?) och mp3-spelaren hade inte riktigt slagit igenom än. Man körde fortfarande på den populära MD-spelaren, en liten manick som fungerade som en walkman, fast med bättre ljudkvalitet. Var det tänkt. Anywho, jag minns att jag gick omkring och lyssnade på den här plattan om och om igen, utan att tröttna, just därför att den var så förbannat varierad och så olik allt annat jag hört. Idag skulle jag väl verkligen inte kalla den konventionell, men den är fortfarande så mycket mer än det man hör när man slår på vanlig skvalradio att det är synd att inte fler människor fått upp ögonen för … eller vänta. Det är inte synd alls. Det är precis så det ska vara. Inte fan vill vi väl dela våra musikaliska sockerbitar med alla andra fula hästar? Nä just det.

I alla fall: Mr. Bungle. California. Tio låtar. Fyrtiofyra minuter. Ett perfekt popalbum. Och det briljanta är att det är långtifrån pop. Mike Pattons minst sagt multitaskande stämband är perfekta för i princip all typ av musik, något han gjort klart sedan många år med Faith No More. Dock existerade Mr. Bungle innan han gick med i FNM, och trots att man bara gav ut tre fullängdsskivor mellan 1991 och 1999 hann man på dessa tre verk få med så mycket att det väl egentligen inte fanns mer att säga. Om Patton kan man dock säga mycket – han fortsätter att utöva sin musikaliska ADHD än idag och har flera strängar på sin lyra än … tja, en lyra.

Men California nu: Från sextiotalsvibbande doakörande på ”Sweet Charity” till den nästan yrselframkallande semiballaden ”Retrovertigo” till galenskapen i ”Ars Moriendi” (med klezmer, och det är fan briljant!) till låten som av andra skäl kommit att betyda vissa saker för mig: ”Pink Cigarette”. Den sistnämnda låttiteln snodde jag till en halvsurrealistisk novell jag skrev en gång när jag var olyckligt kär i en person jag dumpat och sedan ville ha tillbaka (vilket jag också senare fick, men det är ju en annan historia, som med mycket i livet).

Jag vet att jag sagt till folk att om jag bara hade en timme kvar att leva och bara hann lyssna på en skiva till, då skulle det bli den här. Jag vet inte om det stämmer längre, men det är fortfarande en jävligt bra platta. Den har har så många olika facetter och nyanser att den blir komplett, även om man lätt blir yr om man försöker ta in den för fort. Som när man käkar ett halvt kilo godis och sedan ligger och ojar sig, fast det ju för fan var fantastiskt gott och säkert värt magontet. 

Lyssna på Mr. Bungle och lyssna på California och lyssna på ”Pink Cigarette”. Sån här musik hör man inte på radio.