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Album Review: Hardcore Superstar – HCSS

Almost two decades after their debut release, Hardcore Superstar attempt to go back to their roots.  Is the rekindling of their original sound anything worth remembering?


Text Review:

It takes a lot of tenacity and devotion to party for two decades.  Anyone who can put out that much livewire energy and zest in their music for twenty years deserves credit, especially over a time where the music industry has changed so drastically.

Since 1997, Sweden’s Hardcore Superstar have been bringing in noise across albums, videos and decades of touring.  One question that is often asked about long standing bands after so much time is if their style has changed or evolved into something completely different.  In this case, will HCSS be reminiscent of their origins or what they have done over the past several years?

The best way to describe Hardcore Superstar and how their new album sounds in 2015 is that they reinvented themselves by going back to the method that started it all.  In an interview online, Martin Sandvik said: “In a way, we are backtracking our roots to show ourselves why we once started this band.  What we found out is that the very things that got us together in the first place are the same things that still gets us going.”

Whether you are familiar with Hardcore Superstar’s past works or only over the past few years, it is undeniable how lively and energetic their music can get.

I cannot think of a better example of an opening song on an album.  From the opening guitar track to the sing-along lyrics to the gorgeous solo, everything about this song feels good.  Despite the negative sounding lyrics, this song just puts you in a good mood and makes you feel alive.  It doesn’t dip or lose its pace, and the song gets you excited for the rest of the album.

It is very refreshing to hear song s like this every now and then.  So often in the rock and metal scene the tempo can sound s bit down and create something dark, which isn’t a bad thing, but with songs like this you can feel the speed pick up to the guitar solo and you just want to move and sing with songs like this.

While I think that Hardcore Superstar’s strength lies within song styles like what was just played, on HCSS there are quite a few ballads reminiscent of the late 80’s hair metal world.  And somehow, these Swede’s have made these songs all fit perfectly and mesh together in the same album.

Fly is a 7 minute song that I never would have expected if I hadn’t listened to from beginning to end.  There is a story and a development in the song that all gradually unfolds in the expression and lyrics.  Comparing it to songs like November Rain, Fly is the type of track that just shouldn’t be condensed into three minutes.

HCSS sways between these two styles: the frantically loud and the drawn out ballad.  One thing that remains consistent in the album is that it all feels natural.  At no point do you feel like a song doesn’t sound like it came from Hardcore Superstar.  Their name and sound is in every second.

It is difficult to grade the merit to past works over two decades, especially since they started while I wasn’t even listening consistently to the rock scene yet.  With HCSS though it makes me feel like this album was taken out of a time capsule.  Whether or not Hardcore Superstar fans feel the same or not, this album just feels like it came from another decade – and that is meant in a good way.

Overall, if you miss the days of loud energetic rock and stadium ballads then you should try listening to HCSS.  Listening to songs like the opening track and Fly will do much more justice to make your decision than I possibly could.