Another band to hit my radar and assault my ears is Sweden’s Corroded. Not exactly a new band, they have released 4 albums since their debut in 2009 but Defcon Zero is their latest offering to the metal masses.
Not sure why but the cover art immediately reminded me of the old Apocalypse Now movie poster from the 70’s. Dark, foreboding and maybe a hint at the music I was about to uncover. I usually follow a pretty strict rule when reviewing an album, I have to sit down and listen top to bottom a minimum of three times. Being an “album guy”, it’s important to me to absorb the entire album as a complete piece of work. I do this for a number of reasons, one out of respect to the artist and also to ensure I have had the time to digest, reflect on and become familiar with the songs.
Sometimes an album immediately speaks to you, grabs you and yanks you along for the ride. Defcon Zero was not that album but let’s not get discouraged, it’s actually a very solid record that I am totally enjoying now. The first problem was each time I sat down to listen, I was interrupted and then became distracted so it wasn’t getting it’s proper due. Anyways, I finally got around to a complete and uninterrupted listen and I started to appreciate what Corroded was all about. I immediately hit play a second time and dug deep into this record.
Let’s remove the elephant in the room before we get to the good stuff on here. For me the opening track of an album is absolutely crucial, it sets the stage, sets the mood and has the power and responsibility to pull you in. “Carry Me My Bones”, the opening track isn’t a bad song but its placement in the arrangement leaves me puzzled. A slow piano/guitar intro that builds into a cool mid-tempo moody rock song, it’s cool but personally I don’t think it was the best choice for the opening track. Especially when I dug into some of the other songs on the record. Any of the next three songs, “Gun And A Bullet”, “Retract And Disconnect” or “Fall Of A Nation” would have served the record better in my opinion. They hit hard and fast and hook me better than “Carry Me My Bones”.
Vocalist Jens Westin has a killer vocal range. He has a raspy growl (dare I say Nickelback-ish) one moment, full on Slayer scream mode and sometimes a silky smooth melodic rock style (Chris Daughtry comes to mind) and often all within the same song. Defcon Zero is a modern sounding production which sometimes can turn me off but it’s organic enough to not push me away. Riff based, hard, melodic metal is a good description of the record.
“Vessels Of Hate” has a great opening riff and one of my favourites off the album. The ballad “A Note To Me” is hauntingly beautiful piece of music that could be very intense live. “Burn It To The Ground” is my absolute favourite track and could have worked so good as the album’s opener. The chorus is so crunchy and melodic and begs you to bang your head.
The rest of the record doesn’t deliver any big surprises, “DRF”, “Feel Fine” and the closer “Rust And Nail” all fit nicely within the context of the record. I enjoyed this album and will definitely be spending some more time with Corroded in my headphones. Might have to go explore some of their back catalogue.
CRAPPY CELL PHONE PHOTO CREDIT: The Meister at Sweden Rock Festival 2017.