Degreed – Public Address Review

Already the 7th album from yet another Swede Hard Rock sensation Degreed. As we have seen on other releases from them, they toughened up with a mix of Hard...

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

Links: https://www.facebook.com/degreedmusic

 

Line-up:

Robin Eriksson – Bass/Vocals
Mats Eriksson – Drums
Mikael Blanc – Keyboards
Daniel Johansson – Guitars

 

Tracklist:

Big Plans
Who Are You (To Say)
The Way Of The World
This Is Love
Ride Along
Free Again
Resist The Urge
Don’t Be A Stranger
A Safe Place
No One
For You
Pressure

 

Already the 7th album from yet another Swede Hard Rock sensation Degreed. As we have seen on other releases from them, they toughened up with a mix of Hard and Metal, tinged with modern rock. Here it’s somewhat the same on this new album. Yes, the tone moves away from their earlier works, which leaned more towards AOR with a Pop tendency. Yet, assuming that the musicians’ quality is beyond question, I needed to listen to this music to form my own opinion and to be honest, I’m glad I did.

The album starts energetically with “Big Plans,” a Hard Rock track built upon a solid rhythm. I can compare it to what ECLIPSE does. And yet, the musicians manage to create a delicate chorus amidst all that energy. These Swedes are skilled! Daniel JOHANSSON’s solo hits me like a torpedo straight to the face. It’s robust, I admit! “Who Are You (To Say)” continues in the same vein, with a rhythm bordering on speed metal, but still surrounded by that Swedish touch, keeping it melodic even amidst the barrage. I have to admit, it’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll. “The Way Of The World” slightly slows down the heart rate, but notice that I said “slightly” – because you might suddenly find yourself uncontrollably wanting to headbang! It’s a scorcher, and I can see it being played live on stage. The first mid-tempo AOR/melodic Hard Rock piece arrives with “This Is Love,” reminding me of WORK OF ART. Once again, there’s a beautifully expressive solo by Daniel JOHANSSON.

Do you like Hair Metal? Are you into Glam Metal? I’ve got just the thing for you with “Ride Along,” its guitar gimmick, and a chorus you can sing at the top of your lungs. Think of CRASHDÏET or WIG WAM. Starting from “Free Again,” we enter another territory closer to AOR, reminiscent of what the group offered at its beginnings. In this realm, I find DEGREED to be quite talented, presenting tracks with their unique style. It’s a magnificent piece with an incredibly obvious chorus. Mats ERIKSSON’s drumming, the singer’s brother, is rock-solid, and a lovely keyboard solo adds to the mix. “Resist The Urge” is a hit of the caliber of H.E.A.T.’s tracks. This piece shines brilliantly. “Don’t Be A Stranger” begins with a piano. It’s the slow ballad I was waiting for, and I’m not disappointed. Robin ERIKSSON’s vocals are simply perfect. I’d like to remind you that he won the Swedish Pop Idol in 1988, and when I hear that voice, I understand why. Strings make their entrance, elevating the song to greater heights. The bass, also played by Robin ERIKSSON, is unrelenting on “A Safe Place.” It sets the tempo for the song, making the walls vibrate! 

An enormous heavy riff kicks off “No One,” but the subsequent parts are more subtle. It’s a superb composition with rhythm changes bordering on Prog Rock, or even progressive in general – especially when I hear that keyboard solo by Mikael BLANC, followed by a stunning solo by Daniel JOHANSSON. And I haven’t even mentioned the luminous chorus. “For You” is a piece that Mr. BIG wouldn’t disown, both in terms of the intricately structured rhythm and the complete mastery of the musicians. All of this is crowned by Robin ERIKSSON’s vocals, pushed to their limits. And what can I say about the lightning-fast guitar solo? An album of such caliber couldn’t end better than with “Pressure,” a song that perfectly combines power, energy, and melody. It brings to mind bands like ART NATION, but I’m specifically reminded of GINEVRA, another Hard Rock-oriented band led by Kristian FYHR, the admirable leader of SEVENTH CRYSTAL. What virtuosity! They even treat us to a dual guitar/keyboard solo to finish magnificently.

DEGREED confirms its status as a leading figure in Swedish AOR/Melodic Hard Rock. The fairly broad musical spectrum allows everyone to find their enjoyment. 

 

Written by: Shadow Editor

Ratings: 8/10

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