Hardcore Superstar

Hardcore Superstar

Gain, 2005


REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


Witnessing the history of Hardcore Superstar's development as a band has mirrored watching a pendulum swing.

In the late 90s, Hardcore Superstar made waves in their home country of Sweden with the release of It's Only Rock n' Roll, an album that drew just enough on glam-influenced rock acts like Hanoi Rocks and Motley Crue to get notable attention abroad, leading to their signing to U.K and U.S. music labels. Without selling the band's soul to the devil in the way the music was recorded and the way the band carried themselves imagewise, Music for Nations (U.K.) and later Koch Records (U.S.) made scant adjustments to what was recorded on It's Only Rock n' Roll and repackaged the album under the Bad Sneakers And A Pina Colada title.

For the sake of the pendulum swing, let's just say that Hardcore Superstar were at the top of the arc and ready to jump as the album received notable awareness to fans around the globe and showed great potential.

Next came my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Thank You (For Letting Us Be Ourselves) and No Regrets, which saw the band nosedive through the swing as vocalist Jocke Berg and his mates became wrapped up in style over substance. The band's music melted into territories that were perilously syrupy and overly ensconced in glam stylings. To culminate matters, rumors circulated that the band were finished in the summer of 2004 after guitarist Thomas Silver and a Swedish journalist reportedly got into a fight at the Swedish consulate in New York during a brief run of U.S. dates.

Suffice it to say, the band quelled the break-up rumors with their recent release of Hardcore Superstar, an album that is definitely more rock than schlock. The liner notes list current and local Gothenburg hard rock/metal luminaries Ralf Gyllenhammar of Mustasch and Oscar Carlquist of RAM as contributing backing vocals on the disc, which is a pretty inspiring move, since I've always maintained that Gyllenhammar packs a vocal wallop as a modern day Glenn Danzig disciple. Pair up the bite of these two guests in tandem with the signature Jocke Borg melodies, and the potential for Hardcore Superstar to sound strong throughout a full recording has never rated better.

Wasting no time in testing this theory, the first track on the album, "Kick On The Upperclass," proves an appropriate opening for a couple of reasons. Namely, it shows off the band's new attitude while apparently gaining strength in its retribution towards the journalistic infidel who sparked the consulate fiasco.

The currently released singles "Wild Boys" and "We Don't Celebrate Sundays" champion Borg's melodies the best while inviting Silver and bassist Martin Sandvik to take more dominant roles. Additionally, the gloom and doom approach to the stalled beat on "Hateful" works wonders in adding diversity to the overall vibe on the album. These contributions share the undeniable rock vision the band is now following.

And those, my friends, are reasons enough for me to claim that Hardcore Superstar is just the album to provide the necessary adrenaline for the band to successfully ride back up the pendulum swing. Playing to their strengths, Hardcore Superstar is the album that should have been recorded years ago as the follow up to Bad Sneakers And A Pina Colada and gives hope for bigger and better things to come.

[To view streaming video of the "We Don't Celebrate Sundays," click here]

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Gain, and is used for informational purposes only.