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CRAZY LIXX Ruff Justice

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:16 PM


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CRAZY LIXX
Ruff Justice

Frontiers Music Srl - 2017
http://www.crazylixx.com




The fifth studio album from the Swedish glam/melodic rockers presented an interesting dilemma for me. I've always been more focused on the vocals and lyrics when it comes to music, leaving the heavy technical discussion about the music itself to those with more expertise than I have.

So when I found myself enjoying the soundtrack more than the lyrics on Ruff Justice, it was a bit confusing for this poor old brain of mine. Musically, the album is a really tight set of melodic rockers that have just a little bit of added edge to the guitars to give the otherwise diamond polished feel some scuff marks if you will.

But lyrically, the album manages to pretty much hit every possible cliche you could imagine from glam metal's 1980's heyday. I found myself thinking at times that this was like STEEL PANTHER without the tongue in cheek aspect. What made matters worse is that nine of the tracks are written (sharing a co-write on one of them with guitarist Chrisse Olsson) by vocalist Danny Rexon. He's very involved as you might imagine given that he produced the album and did the cover and artwork.

But I couldn't help feeling as if there was, for the most part, something less than compelling to this album. A line from the power ballad "If It's Love" pretty much summed up a lot of what I was thinking as I listened to the album: "How Come I Feel No Fire?"

Now, there were actually a couple of songs that I really enjoyed listening to. "Hunter Of The Heart" had a great vibe to it musically with a guitar line that really catches the ear. The closing track "Live Before I Die" has a wonderful chorus that summed up how anyone might want to live their life if they are being honest with themselves. By far the best track was the intensely aggressive "Kiss Of Judas". It just blazes with a fury that can get your musical passions fired up in no time at all.

But for me, that's pretty much where the enjoyment ends. Regardless of the band's commitment to the performance, it all feels like a paint by numbers way of doing things. There's the song "XIII" which is seemingly an ode to Jason from the Friday The 13th movie franchise but it does little to conjure up a feeling of dread that the subject matter should likely do. The one song from outside writers is "Shot With A Needle Of Love" should serve as the chief piece of evidence in my charge that the album is mostly a collection of cliches rather than the band's original ideas. From the song title to the lyrics, everything about this song says "It's all been done before...and probably better".

I went into this album with high hopes because it isn't like I don't like this type of music. But Ruff Justice gives off the vibe of a cynical attempt to capture fans like me who still enjoy the music of our teenage years without actually offering much in the way of even the least little bit of original spin on the formula.

2.5 Out Of 5.0

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