Power and mega-sonic sound does not only come from the guys in the world of melodic hard rock. There has to be something said about the ladies that know how to rock. When I think of the gals that can bring it I think of Lita Ford, Doro Pesch, Vixen, Sandy Saraya , Veronica Freeman, Lorraine Lewis and many, many more. Yeah, that is an iconic list and those are some of the legends of the female movement in hard rock, but for any movement to be strong there has to be a youth movement that rises up and carries the torch. Don’t be alarmed because that torch is safely secure in the hands of Tave Wanning and the band Adrenaline Rush. There is an album of booming thunder rolling out of Sweden and it’s aptly titled “Soul Survivor.”
I sadly admit that I was not familiar with Adrenaline Rush until I received the tracks for this one. Yeah, every once in a while I let a few slip through the cracks, but fortunately it’s never too late to recover when it comes to great music. I just had to listen to the opening track “Adrenaline” and I knew that what is being served up here is one fantastic piece of hard rock. The opening track immediately kicks in with a head-banging riff and crunching guitar that open the floodgates and release the massive vocal talents of Tave Manning who soars throughout; melodic with a subtle grit. The songs on this album are heavier and have more power generated soul that shows the maturation of the songwriting and overall structure. “Love Is Like Poison” and “Breaking the Chains” follow the path of consistency with the classic hooks and melodies of the 80’s and early 90’s. The big hooks and raw power define the songs and sear the melodies into your soul. There are plenty of the old school influences here, but there is also a modern energy as well. The album was mixed by none other than Erik Martensson of Swedish juggernaut Eclipse and his huge sound mixes accentuate the material and raise the sound to a superior level that brings a great, almost live feel to the production.
On every album there are tracks that just stick with you and on this one the title track “Soul Survivor” is one of those. With a majestic flow and heartfelt vocal delivery by Wanning I hear elements of Savatage’s “Gutter Ballet” intertwined with a melodic solo by new lead guitarist Sam Soderlingh that take me into a mellow dream state. The musicianship is stellar and grabs you from the very start and never lets you go.
“Stand My Ground,” “My Life” and “Break the Silence” are flat out balls to the wall, heavy and the latter brings a touch of modern industrial feel to it. With such a solid release it is difficult to pick a favorite, but I had a favorite right from the first listen and that track is “Sinner.” I remember the first time that I heard Doro Pesch ripping thru “Fight For Rock” from the “True As Steel” album and this song just gave me that same feel. The song opens with a few harmonic notes and then just drives into the nice and heavy distorted chords. There is plenty of melody here and a flow that changes from the heavy to the melodic. Wanning delivers the notes to perfection and I found myself cranking this more than a few times already.
The album is just full of amazing tracks and “Shock Me” has a slightly slower pace with a powerful chorus and “Wildside” just blasts thru like a high impact freight train. Heavy guitars, bombastic melodies and high voltage drive; a textbook rocker.
Finishing off what is a classic melodic hard rock album, “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Crash” offer up more of the same, with the big, infectious choruses and the latter just reminds me of a classic Ratt riff with a cool, strutting swagger.
If you are a fan of the classic 80’s and early 90’s heyday of melodic power rock than “Soul Survivor” is your Picasso. The album just exemplifies everything that you want out of a hard rock album; the glitz the glam, heavy guitars and razor sharp vocals, this one brings out the very essence of the genre. I give this one both horns raised high with the smoke on top it is truly a classic “Soul Survivor.”
Tave Wanning – lead vocals
Sam Soderlindh – lead guitar, vocals
Alexander Hagman – guitar, vocals
Joel Fox – bass, vocals
Marcus Johansson – drums