Humanity Delete’s second album, the retail-unfriendly titled ‘Fuck Forever Off’, was a great piece of death metal. For those able to make it past the terrible name and even worse sleeve art, the album showed how it was possible to take classic death metal tropes, shake them up a little and come up with something that felt traditional and yet still new and relevant. Often sounding like a death metal infused Lamb of God, these Swedes definitely showed an ability with a riff.
Diskopunk have been slowly releasing tracks across digital platforms since 2016. It was looking increasingly like they were going to tease the world with bits and pieces forever, but the beginning of 2019 brought a self titled EP and, with that, finally something more substantial for those who’ve enjoyed the previous digital singles.
In terms of their very European electronica, the bulk of this self-titled release is very assured in the way it throws catchy hooks into melodic beats. It also isn’t afraid to feel like throwaway fun at times either, but what comes across most is that old Scandinavian gift for a strong melody – something that’s often obvious throughout, even if you’re not really that big on dance oriented stuff.
When they unleashed their debut ‘All The Way’ in 2014, Scandinavian melodic rockers State of Salazar released one of the year’s best albums. With some great choruses and tunes that often paid a massive homage to the mighty Toto, the band hit upon a classic retro style that really tapped into the Swedes’ knack for a melody. The next couple of years came and went. The more time passed, the more it felt like there would never be a follow up.
A four year silence was finally broken in September 2018. First, the band announced they’d be appearing at the Frontiers Rock Sweden festival with label mates Eclipse and Crazy Lixx, but better still, a digital single ‘If You Wait For Me’ appeared on YouTube. Not only were State of Salazar back, but it seemed they were about to make a real impact within the AOR community.
Sweden’s City Maze are a rock band featuring members who’ve had prior links with Melody Fields and Blisterhead. Their 2018 EP ‘Lifestyle’ features four songs that sit somewhere between radio friendly 90s styled rock and the gently alternative. There’s nothing edgy or challenging about their sound, but given Sweden’s track record for great music, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to expect, say, something relatively enjoyable. What actually transpires is a lumpen Weezer-obsessed trudge through four songs that don’t deserve being heard more than twice.
As labels like Burning Heart and Birdnest have proved, Sweden has been a hotbed of punk for years. Rather importantly, it has its own sound. Bands like No Fun At All and Millencolin share a common musical root with lots of the pop- and skatepunk bands from the US, but there’s something unique in the way the Swedes approach their art…and it goes deeper than a mere accent on a vocal.