Hardcore Superstar – ‘C’mon Take On Me’

Hardcore Superstar - ArtworkThis ninth album from the Swedish thrash/sleaze mutants sees them abandoning the former and very much planting their feet in the latter camp – a direction they have taken more and more since the recruitment of former Crazy Lixx guitarist Vic Zino six years ago.

Following an intro that wouldn’t have sounded place on Nightwish’s ‘Imaginaerium’, the title track swaggers out of the speakers with the cocksure assurance of a band who have been there, done that and sold a million T-shirts to prove it, led by Joakim Berg’s in-your-face rasping vocal and an explosive riff from Zino, and is the hardest and heaviest track on the album, but also features the kind of anthemic, dancealong chorus that characterizes the opus as a whole.

First single ‘One More Minute’ is built on a growling vocal intro (reprised in the track’s faster second half) that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rob Zombie album, before quickly transforming into an excellent slice of arm-and-lighter waving pop metal anthem.


The album’s second single, ‘Above The Law’, is a boisterous slice of sleazy power pop, very much in the vein of, for example, ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ from 2011’s ‘Split Your Lip’, with a huge, cheeky chorus and massive melody, very much in the mould of Hanoi Rocks.


‘Are You Gonna Cry Now?’ starts off with a grossly unwelcome Def Leppard vein, but quickly rectifies that severe lack of judgement to become another fine slice of swinging sleaze, more reminiscent of Hanoi Rocks or HIM in its hook, while ‘Stranger Of Mine’ is like a mellower, psychedelic Guns N’ Roses, even down to ‘November Rain’-ish orchestration and vocals and Berg’s almost perfect Axl impression in the song’s dying embers.

The two-part ‘Won’t Take The Blame’ is ambitious, again evoking the aforementioned ‘November Rain’, while also referencing Cinderella and latter-day Poison.  ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ and ‘Because Of You’ are two great pop metal tunes, again with hugely memorable hooks, but they are mere prefaces for another of the album’s highlights – the strutting ‘Too Much Business’, which sounds like it’s been laying in a LA record company vault for the past two decades before being dusted down and given a huge kick up the ass.  Closer ‘Long Time No See’ rounds things off in mellower style, a power ballad that certainly would blow anything Aerosmith have done in the past 20 years or so out of the water.


Hardcore SuperstarTrack list:

  1. Cutting The Slack
  2. C’mon Take On Me
  3. One More Minute
  4. Above The Law
  5. Are You Gonna Cry Now?
  6. Stranger Of Mine
  7. Won’t Take The Blame Pt 1
  8. Won’t Take The Blame Pt 2
  9. Dead Man’s Shoes
  10. Because Of You
  11. Too Much Business
  12. Long Time No See

‘C’Mon Take On Me’ is available now on Nuclear Blast Records.



About Mark Ashby

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