Monday, September 7, 2015

DEGREED: ”Dead But Not Forgotten”

Rating: RRRR

Label: Sun Hill Production 2015
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Some albums take a while to sink in, and ”Dead But Not Forgotten” is one of those. I’ve been playing it a lot and at first I thought it was merely ok, nothing to get really excited about. I still think it has its flaws, it’s not a perfect album by any means but there’s much to like among the 14 songs.

Degreed are definitely the product of this decade and maybe the one before. They are not trying to emulate the 80’ies sound, although you can hear some influences from that golden era of melodic rock. I think that’s a good thing, they might just have a bigger chance at mainstream success without a ”retro rocker” tag.

For some reason the band reminds me of some contemporary christian bands such as Hawk Nelson, Skillet or Fireflight. Not because of the lyrics, but somehow musically there’s something similar to those bands. Another comparison that popped up was ”Pretty Maids jamming with The Rasmus”… Anyway, Degreed have definitely an ear for a good pop hook, and there’s plenty of those on ”Dead But Not Forgotten”. Sometimes they are served with a side order of metal or modern, ethereal keyboard sounds. Guitarist Daniel Johansson adds a lot of old-school shredding to the songs, which brings them just a touch of the eighties.

My favorite songs include ”Face The Fact”, ”Better Safe Than Sorry” (similar to the melodic rocking side of Pretty Maids), ”Final Ride” and ”Start Again”, all brilliant hook-laden modern melodic rock songs. The quality never drops below an acceptable level, but a few of the songs are maybe a bit too similar to each other. There are a few choruses here that could’ve used an additional doze of melody, they’re just too straightforward for their own good. But these are merely minor gripes, in the end this is a very good album with a dazzling up-to-date production. These songs wouldn’t be out of place in the playlists of rock radio stations all over the world.

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