The self-titled debut EP from Swedish rockers ToxicRose may not hold many surprises but it does offer plenty of bruising fun and sleaze soaked enterprise. Combining an energetic blend of hard rock and melodic metal the band unleashes a sound which parties with the essences of Crashdiet, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., and Motley Crue to the fore.
Formed in 2010, the Stockholm quartet of vocalist Andy and drummer Michael (both ex- Lipstixx ‘n’ Bulletz), guitarist Tom (ex-Gemini Five), and bassist Goran (ex-Sexydeath), took no time in combining their ‘veteran’ experience to create sounds drenched in eighties hard and glam rock, bringing it all up to date for a full and vibrant encounter. They have garnered quite a buzz around their presence since which their first release can only enhance and drive forward. Admittedly their chosen genre is not one which excites our hearts here but it is hard not to find enough to be enthused about with the EP and find richly pleasurable.
Released via City Of Lights Records, the EP opens with the powerful and magnetic A Song For The Weak. Big thumping rhythms and striking riffs soon capture attention whilst the whispers of keys brings a warm and gentler caress from within the muscular engagement. The vocals of Andy are aggressive yet welcoming to match the array of guitar skill from Tom, his sinewy riffs and melodic invention impressive and engaging. The band look the part for a glam/hard rock band and as this song proves they sound the part too. There is nothing openly adventurous to discover but it is an infectious riot of accomplished invention and invigorating sound which can only be enjoyed and applauded.
From the strong start the following Set Me Free takes a similar path to its predecessor whilst matching in appeal and quality. The striding rhythms and towering riffs command the ear whilst the melodic wash of the keys and sonic teasing of the guitars leave their contagious mark on the senses. The bass of Goran is a pulsating shadow to the song bringing extra flavoursome to its compelling presence. Arguably the track is too much like the first to reach the same heights but still makes for a satisfying companion which gets the job done.
Follow Me offers a slight symphonic breeze from the keys, the track allowing them a more noticeable place in the energetic storm. It is a pleasing difference and adds something extra to a song which brings diversity to the previous tracks. Again the musicianship and songwriting is spot on ensuring another song of epic melodic stature and heated craft. Whilst not igniting the same depth of pleasure as the first pair its open originality to those same songs makes it probably the more rewarding on the record.
The release is completed by Black Bile and Fear Lingers On, two songs which are less accessible and immediate but with deeper depths and surprisingly more anthemic appeal. It is unclear who provides them but again the keys make a great feature on the pair whilst the heavy and intense rhythmic and melodic aspects of the songs share front spot throughout, the track switching focus between the two attacks seamlessly. The second of the two is the heaviest most formidable song on the EP and for that is our favourite especially with its scorched sonic flaring and ear chewing riffing and hungry energy.
As mentioned glam/hard rock is not the genre to bring great pleasure here but we would be lying if we declared that ToxicRose made the time with their release not enjoyable or unworthy. It may not ever be used in the same sentence as best or favourite by us but the EP will certainly find a happy acceptance whenever it finds itself before our more brutal personal tastes.
For fans of the bands mentioned and the likes of Hardcore Superstar, Crazy Lixx, and Faster Pussycat for sure.
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