Former frontwoman of Swedish hard rockers Sister Sin (who I wasn’t all that big a fan of) Liv Jagrell has spun-off into her own solo effort, which I can positively assure you is not the kind of flowery pop rock that you’d expect. She said that she wanted to it to be metal, and it is metal. There’s bits of thrash, groove and even black metal rolling about here, all done to perfection. Liv’s vocals are quite sharp as well, they cut like a razor on several of these cuts, putting that new Arch Enemy disc to shame. The Will To Power, I think it was called – but in any case, this is the kind of bad ass Testament/Judas Priest and maybe even a little bit Nevermore kind of power/thrash that I was expecting. If “The Fall” doesn’t get your attention and you still aren’t feeling anything after “Hypocrite” then I really don’t know what to say as this is more or less what we expect from the genre. In a nutshell, this is pure metal. Yes, there are clean vocals here, but that’s kind of the point.
Liv Sin aren’t death or black metal, they’re closer to the non-extreme but just as hefty origins of the genre and I couldn’t be happier. What’s more, is that Liv’s vocal approach while similar to Jill Janus from Huntress, isn’t quite as obnoxious and actually seems to have quite a bit more bite to it. Jill might be able to soar with greats like Halford and Dickinson, but Liv just sounds far more animalistic and that’s where it counts for me. She was considered one of Revolver’s “Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock” and was even featured on that tour, but you would never expect such a force coming from this tiny woman as I’m being exposed to on this record. It almost brings back the feeling that I got when I first saw Angela Gossow’s debut in Arch Enemy’s “Ravenous” video. If it hasn’t been already established, women can most certainly hold their own in this genre and are showing that they’re just as relevant as dudes have always been. If you for some odd reason still can’t get around females in metal, then once again – I really don’t know what to tell you. They’re not going away anytime soon.
Backed by such a powerful band made up of artists that were previously unknown to the scene before this album, Liv’s vocals meld quite well with the guitar compositions courtesy of Patrick Ankermark and Christoffer Bertzell, who both offer loads of melodic firepower, nearly creating the same atmosphere responsible for melodic death metal. Though keep in mind, there aren’t any growls on this thing – and there doesn’t need to be. She’s frantic enough on the vocals, whether they pump into groove or go straight Judas Priest. It doesn’t matter, because every bit of it delivers. Even when she sings a few clean bars, it’s still a very relatable affair. Let me just put it to you this way: I was offered two discs from this promoter. This was one, with the new Nightrage album being the other and after listening to both discs, I definitely decided to go with this beast over the melodeath legends. Though to be honest, I’ve always dug thrashy/power stuff a little more and tend to get into that more than ever these days.
For some odd reason I want to compare several of the compositions here to that of a familiar power metal act by the name of Dream Evil, which I am hearing quite a bit of in this performance. The entire record isn’t a thrash or speed-metal affair, but it delivers regardless of what they’re doing. Its also more brackish than anything we probably would have expected from the lead singer of a hard rock band, and I hope that this approach will continue on future albums. Judging from this performance, I would actually be up to seeing something like this live, just to see if she can nail these cuts onstage with as much fire and fury as I’m witnessing right here. Ultimately, Follow Me is quite killer and I’d certainly recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan of the groove elements, there’s just so much more in the classic metal spectrum to enjoy here and that’s where I have to recommend it. There’s enough here for fans of ten years as there is for fans of thirty years. It even has a goddamned Fight cover with Jyrki 69 of The 69 Eyes on it, which I find extremely unexpected and impressive. Fight never really got the amount of attention that they deserved in the scene.
Saying little more, Liv Sin’s Follow Me might go down as one of my personal favorite discs of the year, so pick it up if you missed out on it. The disc originally released in April, but I didn’t see too many metal rags giving a damn about it for some reason or another, even though this is the kind of act that should be pushed in the mainstream. Rather than so many “other” acts that we won’t name here. You’d never expect the lead vocalist of a hard rock act to spin-off into something that doesn’t only come off powerful as it does, but stays true to the spirit of metal. The Grim Tower definitely recommends Liv Sin’s Follow Me, so get your damn hands on it. Pick up the Fight album too, it’s essential.
(11 Tracks, 45:00)