Hardcore Superstar – HCSS

Hardcore Superstar
“HCSS”
Hard rock
Released on 22nd April 2015
Via Gain Music

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Been struggling with the right words to write this for more than a week now. Is it a good album? Pretty much so. Do I like it? Not really. It’s far from the first time that I acknowledge the greatness of an album, even if that particular genre of music isn’t my cup of tea. The issue here is that Hardcore Superstar is one of my favorite bands and it’s hard to leave my personal disappointment out of the way.

First and foremost, “HCSS” lacks edge. The riffing is still heavy, but not vibrant, and it’s now more accurate to mention a “cheesy vibe” than a sleazy one. “Don’t Mean Shit” is probably the only song that still carries the Hardcore Superstar spirit of the last five albums, and maybe the reason why it’s the opening track – a passage between the past and the present. A very retro present. Nothing against the traditional hard rock of “Party ‘Til I’m Gone” (even though I prefer my rock less classic), but the dreamlike, nearly-psychedelic moments are too much Summer-of-the-drugs for me. But one might find those the cherry on top of the cake, the one detail that makes all the difference.

The rhythm in “The Cemetary” embraces another ‘70s facet, sounding just like The Clash’s “London Calling”. It gains a bit more spirit in the chorus, becoming really lively (no pun intended) and catchy. It’s a good song, but something I’d expect from the “No Regrets” era and not the Hardcore Superstar of today. In fact, now that I think of it, there’s a lot of that album and “Thank You (For Letting Us Be Ourselves)” in here. A bit twisted and revamped, but here. Guess music does run in circles.

I don’t know if any of the guys is a Procol Harum fan, but “Fly” surely feels like it was inspired by the English band. A classy melancholy that goes on for almost eight minutes and which will either delight you or bore you – there’s hardly a middle term. As for the groovy/funky “Touch The Sky”, I would go for “delight or annoy” – especially those verses in the beginning of the song, where you don’t understand a thing of what Jocke’s singing. Once again, one may consider that a touch of genius. Me, I’m not convinced.

I do like “Glue”, and once in a while the chorus of both “The Ocean” and “Off With Their Heads” pops happily in my head. But still… As a reviewer, I must congratulate Hardcore Superstar for their diverse and rich songwriting. As a fan, I confess I was expecting something else.

4/5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

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