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The Poodles – Performocracy

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD download
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba
Rating: 8.5/ 10


"Performocracy" (fourth studio album) is without a doubt the bands strongest statement (and title) to date, a killer platter of hard rock merged with heavy metal. Many have referred to these Swedes as a modern day glam metal band and while they have many of those traits from sound to their previous appearance (they could have been pulled straight out of the 80’s Sunset Strip scene), I get the feeling with this album that they are trying to show they are more than just that and would rather lose the tag. The photo on the cover of "Performocracy" shows the band wearing all black reminding me more of Metallica from the Black album era rather than flashy 80’s hair band.

 

The Poodles have always been about fun, releasing great catchy songs, and while they continue to do so the song writing has also matured a bit this time around. Not as outrageous as say Steel Panther (some of their older stuff is similar mixed with the silliness/tongue in cheek style of Dream Evil), but in 2011 the band is looking to be taken more seriously. The first three tracks on the album really put the listener into a submission hold acknowledging that much like Charlie Sheen, the Poodles are WINNING! ‘I Want It All’ sets the tone as a mid tempo yet slightly upbeat track that grabs the listener and lets them know that something special is underway. ‘Until Our Kingdom Falls’ opens up on the heavier end and gets the head banging and the blood flowing a bit. ‘Father To A Son’ is definitely a highlight building into a steady rocker with heartfelt touching lyrics. At this point everything we have heard so far merges together causing the musicianship to really shine showcasing great arrangement to killer vocal melodies and an awesome chorus. Already I am hooked.

‘Cuts like a Knife’ may be the tightest track opening up with a Van Halen like keyboard arrangement (‘Right Now’) giving way to a heavier instrumental peak and falling into a slower valley while vocalist Jakob Samuel delivers the first verse into a more upbeat chorus (think ‘Sacrifice’ by Edguy). This one will easily be a crowd favorite live. As a power ballad, ‘Time is Passing By’ has enough strength that Bon Jovi could have recorded it somewhere between "New Jersey" and "Keep the Faith". ‘Love Is All’ is one of the most moving tunes I have heard possibly ever as it describes a world with peace and happiness (which of course is an extremely far cry from where this planet is currently at). And just when I think the album can’t get any better I get smacked upside the head with the uplifting motivational ‘Your Time Is Now’.

I am pretty new to the Poodles, just discovering them on their 2010 live release "No Quarter" (which to say the least blew me away) and I am without a doubt a newly converted fan. Just judging on what I’ve heard and comparing "No Quarter" to "Performocracy" they have without a doubt brought things to a new level. Fans of Bon Jovi, Gotthard, Edguy and TNT will find plenty to love about the Poodles. I cannot say enough good things about this band and “Performocracy” is going to be a major contender when it comes to my year end Best Of 2011 Albums list.

 
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