THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND
For 80s metalheads, there are two types of people. There are the type that stand firm by the explosion of Nirvana onto the scene as the moment when all future music stopped being good, and there are those that are always looking for new and exciting music that maintains that melodic, fun spirit that the 80s produced. For me, I fall into the latter category. Any band that's trying to recapture that fun, rockin' spirit that the 80s unleashed on the world will always get my ear. There's good and bad for these newer bands. On the bad side, there's always the old bands that prove that they've hung on too long, or new bands that poorly recreate the look and don't have the music to back it. Then there are some really good bands out there that really capture it without becoming a spoof band like Steel Panther. Crashdiet are one of those bands that get it. While many wrote them off with the death of vocalist Dave Lepard, this band has really put it back together. Their latest, THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND, is about as solid a classic metal sounding release as you will ever hear.
To be clear, Crashdiet is not a band that you'll listen to and think "Ratt, Warrant or Motley Crue". To the contrary, they have a sound that's pretty much all their own. They are solid, and yet their passion for strong, melody driven songs with solid guitars, vocal harmonized choruses and a driving underbelly prove that they are heavily influenced by a genre long gone in today's world. While they have released nothing but solid efforts in the past, THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND is their "HYSTERIA" moment where their songs are all about as perfect as they can be; memorable, addictive, and sticking into your head like gum in a school girl's hair. In short, THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND is an album that just about any fan of the mid to late 80s music scene will love.
It's really amazing to hear a band like this in 2013. Their songs are so addictive, and simply make your head bob while you think "fuck yeah". Songs like "California" or "Cocaine Cowboys" can be defined by a simple word - fun. Vocalist Simon Cruz has fully found his sound with Crashdiet, and the band has finally morphed to his voice from where they were years ago with Lepard. He's not only a great singer, but he packs a lot of attitude and swagger on each and every song. He brings it home on the piss and vinegar, middle finger in the air anthem "Lickin' Dog".
Cruz is but one part of this great release. Without question, this band has learned their classic metal lessons well. Songs like "Circus" could have been huge hits back in 1989, and yet probably could be today as well with a little bit of airplay. That's because the guitarwork of Martin Sweet is so tasty and solid. He's not the flashy player you generally expect from bands like this, instead providing more solid riffs than solos. In many ways, his riffs that drive most of the songs remind me of a softer sounding Chris Holmes on many of the early WASP records. The riffs drive the songs, while the backbone created by drummer Eric Young and bassist Peter London keep each and every song skipping forward. In short, Crashdiet are just a great hard rock band that are doing their part to keep a lost era alive for fans that want something new and great.
PITRIFF RATING - 93/100 - THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND doesn't feel that savage to me, although it certainly is a place where I want to play often. While this band will probably never get the attention they deserve here in the United States, Crashdiet are as good as it gets at what they do. THE SAVAGE PLAYGROUND proves it.