Hardcore Superstar HCSS Review

SWEDEN: the birthplace of sexual Liberalism in the 60’s and 70’s, the home of boiled crayfish and, lest we forget, the country that gave us ABBA.

We love you, Sweden. In fact, we’ve loved you since ’94 when a band of sleazy Swedish rockers started a little outfit known as Hardcore Superstar.

These guys are the Scandinavian champagne of the sleaze-rock scene, always one for the big occasion.

Their latest release, HCSS, is a self-confessed return to their roots, with the guys having recently claimed: “What we found out is that the very things that got us together in the first place are the same things that still get us going. So this is nothing less than Hardcore Superstar coming full circle by showing our fans where we come from and what we still believe in!”

The album kicks off with the provocative ‘Don’t Mean Shit’ which undoubtedly has the makings of a very successful live track batting in the big leagues with previous gems such as ‘Above the Law’ , ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ and, of course, ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’.

With powerful riffage and a jumping chorus, this song is sure to get some pints fucked in the air.

Contrasting, then, is a unique number titled ‘The Cemetary’. Starting with an odd little drumbeat, this song literally screams into an infectious, upbeat punk tune. The feel of the song is very reminiscent of something the Ramones or The Misfits may have come up with, albeit a good bit heavier. The soft whispering in the song’s middle provides an effective contrast to the booming backing vocals in the final chorus. Another one meant for the live audience and definitely the album’s best for me.

If this record really is a return to roots for Hardcore Superstar then you can almost guarantee they were listening to a little bit of Ozzy Osbourne in the summer of ’94. ‘Touch the Sky’ has very glaring similarities to a certain ‘No More Tears’. Opening with a marriage of steady drums and distorted, raunchy bass, the Ozzy-style vocals are there for all to hear. This song really is awesome, though, and does retain an originality that pertains to classic Hardcore Superstar as well as solo Ozzy.

The band’s range is evident throughout this album with juxtaposition of ‘softer’ tracks such as ‘The Ocean’ with your Saturday night staples like ‘Party Til I’m Gone’.

This album, after the very first listen, is synonymous with everything we associate with Hardcore Superstar. Sandvik and Andreasson remain the power couple where that driving rhythm is concerned.

Zino’s dirty, sleazy lead guitar licks are as prevalent as ever on this album while Berg’s trademark vocals remain undiminished, yet demonstrative of a range we may not have previously been aware of.

HCSS is, without any shadow of doubt, a must-own for any Hardcore Superstar fan or, indeed, the more adventurous fan of the hard rock genre.

This album merely confirms what we all already knew: Sweden, and Hardcore Superstar, Rocks.

Review by Phil Bailie

(Reposted from our parters at Belfast Metalheads Reunited)

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