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By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Sunday, December 1, 2019 @ 1:59 PM

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Frontiers Music Srl - 2019

If we are being honest, I must admit that my complete knowledge of the band CRASHDIET comes from the song "Cocaine Cowboys". I heard and really loved that song when it came as part of a compilation CD given away with an issue of the now long defunct British music magazine AOR. I loved the song when I heard it but for some reason I just never bothered to check the band out any further.

That's now changed after I grabbed the chance to listen to and review the Swedish rock band's 5th album Rust. The first album to feature their latest singer Gabriel Keyes does much to raise the band in my estimation.

I know that the band is commonly filed under the "sleaze rock" banner but I've gotta say that I just found this album to be a killer hard rock release. Maybe it's the band's visual presentation or something, but the hard driving melodically infused brand of rock that CRASHDIET plays would definitely have fit right in back in the 1980's.

The album opens with a trio of strong tracks. That is less of a surprise to me than the idea that each of those song came with sets of lyrics that are rather topically aware of the state of the modern world. The title track strikes a blow against the rather apathetic nature of people today, while "Into The Wild" seems poised against the state of the enviornment. Oh, and "Idiots" is a call to arm to be an individual rather than going along with the masses like lambs to the slaughter.

I know that it seems all a bit strident if you just read it like that. But what I found was that the band really knows how to couch this stuff inside of a stunningly entertaining musical soundtrack complete with one great sounding guitar riff after another as well great choruses with that big backing vocal sound to enhance everything.

The material is written or co-written by guitarist Martin Sweet. Singer Gabriel Keyes is his main co-writer but what kind of surprised me was the three songs co-written with Eric Bazilian. For those that are unfamiliar with him, he's the vocalist for THE HOOTERS. What I didn't know much about until looking it up for this review is that he's a pretty well known producer and songwriter for a host of other acts. While he doesn't work with a ton of hard rock bands, he has done work with BON JOVI, JOURNEY and SCORPIONS.

The first song on the album with Bazilian's involvement is "We Are The Legion". At first I wasn't quite so taken with the track but it is one that grows on you. I wish I could say that about the song "Waiting For Your Love", but all the great songwriters in the world couldn't have made this track anything more than putrid.

I think the band functions best when the brakes are off and they push the gas pedal right down to the floor. The song "Crazy", has a furious tempo to it with the main lyrical sections of the song just growling away at you. The chorus is delivered in a bit more of a softer style but overall the song grabs you and shakes you all about.

"Stop Weirding Me Out" gives a kind of chuckle when you first read the song title, but it's another strong rocker (the third of the songs with input from Eric Bazilian). I also liked the two sides of the same coin aspect of the lyrics in "Filth And Flowers". There's a ton of fun to unpack in the songwriting there and I thought Gabriel Keyes did a fantastic job of selling this track.

Despite being a pretty fast record all the way round, CRASHDIET really ups their game on the songs "Parasite" and "Reptile". The former has a real unrepentant hard edge to it both musically and lyrically. As for the latter track, it is probably one of my favorites on the album. It is just relentlessly crushing rock and roll.

And that's probably the best way to describe the Rust album as a whole too. I don't know what I was expecting when I popped the disc into my CD player but I definitely got a sonic boom of an awakening because CRASHDIET certainly put forth their best effort and crushed it with me. You can call them sleaze rockers, hard rock or heavy metal but no matter what you call the band, just know that Rust is a hellaciously rocking good time that will make a believer out of anyone who checks this album out.

4.4 Out Of 5.0

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