Corroded – Defcon Zero (2017)

Their first album in five years, Sweden’s Corroded have crafted a disc that will be right up your alley if you’re fan of acts like Volbeat, Mustach and other hard rock/heavy metal combinations. It also feels a little like early Black Label Society, Soil, Down or Damageplan in some regards. We’re definitely dealing with a southern-influenced sound that feels a little sludgy and carries a great deal of downtuned guitar with it. Throughout the disc, it switches from a catchier radio-rock friendly style to more hard-edged pieces where the harsh vocals are sometimes utilized. It almost feels like a balancing act in that regard, but should come off accessible enough for fans of both heavier and lighter rock songs. It’s very hard to really classify this as a full-on metal album, even though it does indeed contain a few metal moments.

“Carry My Bones” starts us off with a radio-friendly hard rock approach that takes a little too long to get started and doesn’t really meld with me. I guess I can understand the whole mid-era Drowning Pool influence there in the harsh shouts, but perhaps this one has a bit too much structure. With a song like this, where the chorus is such a hefty piece of the performance, it may have been better for the band to go with a more simplistic style. “Gun and a Bullet” is a bit more punchy, going for a much heavier, early BLS sound. At the same time, it tries to throw in more of the radio-friendly choral material that gains attention in the mainstream. “Retract and Disconnect” uses riffs that I swear I’ve heard before. It feels like a familiar song played by a different band, which to me is quite weird. Well, at least it has a notable solo effort thrown in to make the performance come off a bit stronger. “Fall Of A Nation” feels a little undercooked as far as the vocal lines are concerned, but the furious backing chorus seems to bring up a notable spotlight. “Vessels Of Hate” chugs along to punch in a quick chorus and draw a divider between atmosphere, a middle-eastern riff and a thunderous amount of vocal aggression. “Day Of Judgement” didn’t really offer anything new to the performance, coming off as a decent song more or less. “A Note To Me” is about the closest Corroded gets to Nickelback, albeit with some acoustics and a tinge of atmosphere. To say that this one is radio-friendly is a bit of an understatement. It’s definitely the lightest track on the album and definitely a ballad. Crunchy guitars make up “Burn It To The Ground” which is a little more of the same insofar as heavy riffs and light radio choruses are concerned. It feels like a theme that you might hear on an advertisement for a wrestling event, or a track that might play at the end of a hardcore action film. There isn’t really much to say about “DRF” and “Feel Fine” other than the fact that they’re relatively short numbers and prove little in retrospect. The disc’s final cut “Rust and Nail” adds a little more body to the performance, but it’s not all that memorable in my book.

To be honest, Corroded are alright. I know, that’s putting it a bit bluntly, but from what I’ve experienced here it just seems like radio rock with some extra bells and whistles to make it seem a bit more pretentious than what it actually is. Yes, the guys have talent. Jens Westin has the whole American hard rock approach down as far as vocals and riffs are concerned, with Tomas Andersson adding a little bit more here and there. But you know, it’s mostly about Bjarne Elvsgård’s bass riffs and how much crunch these guys can get away with at one time. They are a houshold name in their native Sweden and will no doubt be considered a major hard rock act there. They’ll probably even play some shows with hard rock acts from around the world, if they have not already. It’s just a bit too simplistic for me and I’ve heard a few better rock acts recently – especially Sweden’s Night Flight Orchestra which isn’t even a hard rock act at all – but they’re a fantastic rock band in their own right. It all comes down to matters of taste however, so if anything I’ve described here catches your attention, be sure to pick up the album and give it a listen yourself. It is almost exactly as I’ve described, but I understand that a lot of people dig that sound as well. I’m not here to knock it, just to state my opinion.

(11 Tracks, 49:00)



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