Highrider’s 2016 EP really meant business. Within twenty minutes, the Swedish In Flames obsessives growled, thrashed and pounded their way through four almost faultless tunes that owed so much to the past, especially with a root in classic thrash – and yet still sounded contemporary for the time of release. An unlikely soundtrack for the summer, that short look into a world that blended thrash with melodic hardcore and 70s hard rock organs promised so much for the inevitable full length debut. A year on, ‘Roll For Initiative’ expands on those musical themes and results in a more mixed album. Within the eight featured tracks, you’ll hear more of the things that made Highrider an instant success, but also a few experiments that aren’t quite as immediate.
A Swedish performer currently residing in Berlin, Emma Elisabeth makes adult-oriented radio friendly pop. The resultant sound should appeal to those who enjoy Lissie, or perhaps the more wistful side of Stevie Nicks.
Sex should never be an issue when it comes to musical abilities. As Vixen’s Share Pedersen once put it many years ago: “[being a good musician] has nothing to do with whether you have a dick – that’s not what you play your instrument with!”, but even so, from The Runaways in the 70s, Girlschool, Femme Fatale and Vixen in the 80s, not to mention countless others throughout the 90s and beyond, the all-female band seems to have (over)excited many a rock fan – and not necessarily for the right reasons.
Since their formation in 2010, Thundermother – five denim clad Swedes armed with ample amplification and an obsession with AC/DC – showed themselves to be truly committed to their chosen style. They quickly attracted a cult audience across Europe and in the lead up to their third full length LP ‘Road Fever’ worked really hard to expand their audiences on the live circuit, a place where their old style rock is (understandably) at its best.
After never scoring a record deal or recording anything of note, Swedish glam rockers TrashQueen called it a day in 2015. Two thirds of the band then decided it was time to try a different style of rock music…and so bassist Dennis Butabi Borg and guitarist Anton Joensson formed Cruzh with vocalist Tony Andersson. The new band shunned the previous sleaze and glam sound in favour of AOR and melodic rock…music also not popular since 1990. If swimming against the tide were an Olympic sport, these guys would get a gold medal.
Sweden isn’t short of rock bands. Few, however, rock in the manner of Highrider, Their debut EP, ‘Armageddon Rock’ takes cues from various familiar sources, musically closer to In Flames at times than anything else, while vocally, things lean more towards hardcore. The resultant sounds won’t necessarily be to everyone’s tastes, but so often show a band very capable of taking a few key influences and doing more than just recycling them. On these four tracks, it’s fair enough to say that Highrider spit those influences out somewhat venomously and in their own distinct way.