Saturday, February 16, 2019

STARBREAKER: "Dysphoria"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

From the opening few seconds of "Pure Evil" and along to the lines of "Breaking apart, killing your soul, the devil is driving, you've been out of control", you can tell that Starbreaker are out to shock the listeners. It's got that heavier than thou approach and I fully expected this to be all Metal in the vein of Judas Priest and Annihilator. Soaring vocals by Tony Harnell (TNT) and the metal riff by Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear) drop to reveal a driving bass (Jonni Lightfoot) and pounding kick (Anders K├Âllfors) before we hit the accelerator to top things off with a shout-along refrain. It's however a false start and the following tracks are certainly not as heavy nor blunt as the impressive opener.

It's sort of disappointing to find out that you'll have to wait another five tracks for the next heavy metal anthem. The title track with its depertate cry of "Now all our dreams have died with every tear we cried from pain we couldn't hide. In Dysphoria we tried". The lyrical theme of the album, I would say it's sad, but infinitely hopeful. In between you have a couple of superb melodic metal goodies such as "Wild Butterflies" with its already classic opening line of "I was born in the backseat of a car". It's a smashing semi-ballad with all the right harmonies and outstanding vocal performances by Tony "The Eagle" Harnell and the lads. Why The Eagle, you ask? Because the man likes to soar (vocal-wise). Not to be confused with Eddie The Eagle. That crazy bird crashed every single time.

"Last December" mid-tempo track in the style of TNT 'ala Realized Fantasies and I'm especially fond of its driving mood and bass for that matter. "How Many More Goodbyes" another mid-tempo track and the refrain keep things interesting. The shocking poor piano ballad of "Beautiful One" goes straight to the bin though. Clearly over the top, cheesy to the extreme, I tend to skip it everytime. James Blunt to the rescue? It's basically the worst ballad that Extreme and Queen never wrote. Another three deccent mid-tempo tracks before we're about to wrap things up with the Judas Priest cover of thier monicker (Starbreaker). Excellent production and top-notch, high-pitched vocals by The Eagle. The first half of the album is stronger than the second and merely nine new songs and one cover?

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