Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DOGFACE: "Back On The Streets"

Rating: RRR
Label: AOR Heaven 2013
Review by Rich Dillon

It’s been more than ten years since Dogface graced the shelves of a record store (is there even such a thing anymore?) with an album of new material, but they’re back. This rabid dog has unleashed “Back on the Streets” back in November 2013 and features a brand new line-up. Vocalist Mats Leven (Treat, Candlemass, Yngwie Malmsteen among many others) and guitarist Martin Kronlund (Lover Under Cover) return to build on where they left off with Dogface’s Unleashed in 2000 and In Control in 2002.

 This 2013 incarnation of Dogface looks a lot like the roster of fellow Swedish band Lover Under Cover. Already having their guitarist Martin Kronlund aboard, Lover Under Cover’s rhythm section of bassist Mikael Carlsson and drummer Perra Johansson (Coldspell) also join the pack replacing Stefan Egeman and Patrik Engelbrektsson respectively. Leven, Kronlund and Carlsson are all credited with keys and/or Hammond organs, formerly a position held down by Anders Skoog.

“Footsteps on the Moon” leads the charge in a heavy kind of plodding along fashion giving the listener a glimpse into the vocal talents of Leven. “Can’t Face Tomorrow” is up next and ramps up the energy in a fast paced rocker. “Higher” features some tempo changes, strong guitar work and is another showcase for Leven. “The Fall” slows the pace and begins to lose my interest but “Back on the Streets” is an absolute gem and without a doubt the best of the lot. Unfortunately my attention span is gone again with “Fired” and “Get Up” follows similarly not offering much meat & potatoes to them. “Start a Fire” is a little more rocking with a harder edge and allows Leven to show his vocal prowess. The shortest cut, “Crazy Horses”, is gritty, grinding and rivals “Back on the Streets” for top of the heap while “Freaking Out” closes the record in a 70’s infused psychedelic style.

While this album plays fairly well from start to finish, it did take a few listens to really grow on me and I found that Lover Under Cover (I compare to that band as the only difference is in the vocalist) just edges it out for a better release overall. Dogface certainly has something to build on and would sit well in your collection. It was still enough to cause me to search out the other two Dogface efforts.

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