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On disc: ReinXeed

Majestic - Mike Thompson - 8 stars
1912 - Mike Thompson - 9 stars
Swedish Hitz Goes Metal - Claudia Ehrhardt - 2 stars

Swedish Hitz Goes Metal

Swedish Hitz Goes Metal
(Doolittle Group - 2011)

The idea to metalize Swedish pop hits sounds pretty good to me, that they focus on ABBA and Roxette isn't a big surprise, that the 3 band they take care of is Ace Of Base is a bit of a surprise. To be honest I first thought that several bands do the covers, coz the band name wasn't to prominent on the cover.

So far, so good... ReinXeed decided it's time for them to metalize some Swedish hits which in my opinion done better by other bands. Roxette's The Look didn't sound bad, but the lack emotion. A part of the songs seems to be inspired by Murray Head's One Night In Bangkok... Perhaps a reminiscence to Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus as it was taken from Chess, a piece ABBA's Björn and Benny wrote. Beside that I think that speeding this one up didn't do the song any good. ABBA songs are almost undestroyable, so Money, Money, Money and Lay All Your Love On Me and the other ABBA hits work best... But just in comparison with the others. It's too predictable what ReinXeed make out of the original and they serve every cliché one will have about metalizing a song.

Sorry guys, but this release won't help you to get a bigger fan base. And now I'll pick up Sargant Fury's Little Fish and listen to a good ABBA cover - Eagle! RIP Andrew 'Mac' McDermott.

Track list:

Mamma Mia (ABBA cover)
The Look (Roxette cover)
Money Money Money (ABBA cover)
The Sign (Ace Of Base cover)
Summer Night City (ABBA cover)
All That She Wants (Ace Of Base cover)
Super Trouper (ABBA cover)
Joyride (Roxette cover)
Intermezzo nº1 (ABBA cover)
Sleeping In My Car (Roxette cover)
The winner Takes It All (ABBA cover)
Beautiful Life (Ace Of Base cover)
Lay All Your Love On Me (ABBA cover)
Listen To Your Heart (Roxette cover)

2 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt



(Rivel Records - 2011)

Tommy Johansson is one prolific musician. As well as releasing three tremendous full-length albums with ReinXeed, including last year's magnificent Majestic, and a number of cover songs on Youtube, he is also a member of Rivel Record's label boss Christian Liljegren's neoclassic power metal outfit Golden Resurrection; a band that unleashed a gob-smacking debut last year. Well, Tommy is back to cast his wonderful sonic spells once again with ReinXeed's fourth album, entitled 1912.

The theme for this latest album is the tragedy of the Titanic, which occurred in April 1912. Infamous for being one of the greatest and most shocking maritime disasters of all time the story of the Titanic has fascinated people for almost a century. It has been immortalized in film, of which the best known is James Cameron's 1997 epic, and served as inspiration for countless books. However, I have never before heard anyone use the Titanic legend as the basis of a music album, especially a metal album. As someone who has been captivated by the mysteries surrounding the Titanic since childhood this made the album even more interesting for me!

1912 does not tell a linear story of the Titanic disaster but is rather a collection of songs describing certain aspects. At first I was a little disappointed by this as I imagined a huge, epic narrative concept album following the Titanic's journey from Southampton to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. However, once I was over this initial (very, very minor) disappointment I really began to appreciate the album.

ReinXeed's epic, majestic and uplifting style is perhaps one that you might think unsuited to the telling of such a saddening tale but I think it is handled wonderfully. The aspects of the event that Johansson has written about all lend themselves to the fast power metal beats. The lyrics, although at times a little below par I must admit, generally help you to relive the shock and terror that must have been prevalent on board the ill-fated liner. Johansson's voice is powerful and filled with such emotion, even during the Halford-like wails. Most comparable is Sonata Arctica's Tony Kakko, who has a very similar timbre and the same pleasant, emotional voice.

All of the songs are catchy, as you should expect from a ReinXeed album, with the keyboards high in the mix leading the music while the guitars chug away over furious double bass drumming. When Johansson unleashes his magical guitar skills though, the music is quite simply spellbinding. The guy is a truly under-appreciated guitar player who performs some intricate and absorbing solos throughout the album.

In comparison to previous ReinXeed albums I think this one has pushed the bar even further. Majestic has been a favorite of mine since its release but 1912 has eclipsed it. All power metal fans should check this one out. If nothing else its refreshing to find an album in this genre that has nothing to do with dragons, wizards, battles, Vikings and magic! Not that there's anything wrong with that of course! Definitely looking forward to hearing more from Tommy Johansson's magic fingers in October when the second Golden Resurrection album is unleashed!

9 stars

Mike Thompson



(Liljegren Records - 2010)

A few months ago ReinXeed's third album of finely crafted melodic power metal was released in Japan. Finally now it has become available in the rest of the world too!

For those who don't know ReinXeed allow me to introduce them. The band is the creative vehicle of Tommy Johansson, a multi-talented Swede with a penchant for writing bombastic, uplifting, melodic power metal in the vein of Freedom Call, Stratovarius and Keeper Of The Seven Keys-era Helloween. The band has released two previous full-lengths, entitled The Light (2008) and Higher (2009).

Whilst The Light was a decent enough melodic power metal album it did suffer from a lot of filler tracks. It was very clearly a debut album but it did hint at the potential within the band. Higher improved on the debut in every possible way and was much more enjoyable for it. Thankfully Majestic continues this trend with yet a further fine-tuning of Johansson's song-writing.

All that you would expect from ReinXeed is present – heavily present keyboards create a mystical backdrop whilst the soaring vocals and catchy guitar hooks draw you into a fantastic world of heroes and monsters, epic quests and heroic deeds! You may be thinking that this sound's like a description for 90% of European power metal and you'd be right. However, this is one of those cases where the quality of the music outweighs the need to be overly original. ReinXeed draw on the influences of the eighties, nineties and 2000's and fuses it into a spectacular creation which is very familiar and no less enjoyable for it.

Undoubtedly ReinXeed's finest album to date and one which should be enjoyed by any and all fans of melodic metal. There is a new album already under way so, until then, listen to Majestic and let ReinXeed sweep you away to far-off lands where tales of bold and courageous deeds need to be sung!

8 stars

Mike Thompson

           ©2008-2014 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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