Review Summary: Crashdiet have created yet another benchmark in the Swedish sleaze scene and there seems to be no stopping this hellbent leather train of spiked hair and eye liner.
Something amazing has happened ladies and gentlemen: we may have just gotten the album of the year and it’s only the end of January! Yes, you heard me correctly – album of the fricken year! I have been a Crashdiet fan since 2009 and the release of Generation Wild when that furiously devilish album grabbed me by the throat and ripped me a new one. Since then, it has been four long years without new material from one of the most promising bands this side of Hudson Bay. But finally the wait has ended and now we are inclined to enter the Savage Playground. I will try to make this review as least gushy as possible but it will be quite difficult seeing as the material on this album has stunned me from the first listening session.
Upon entering the playground, you will immediately be greeted with a more muddled production. But do not let this hold you back because the caliber of these thirteen songs (fourteen if you include bonus track “Liquid Jesus”) are actually enhanced by the production in overall heaviness and sleaze-ibility. Walk a few paces into the center of the playground, you will be greeted with a quick, but fiery jab in the chest from “Change the World” – a track that leaves you breathless and actually wanting to the change the dreary world of mainstream pop music and instate Crashdiet as the rightful kings of radio. You cannot breathe for a second but you quickly catch your breath when you see the “Cocaine Cowboys” slinking towards you. They’re mean and nasty, but fun and headbanginly good. If you have not heard “Cocaine Cowboys” yet – shame on you and get the hell of this page.
Anyway, the Cowboys speak of something called “Anarchy” and becoming intrigued you follow them into the sewers beneath the playground itself. There you are greeted with what may be the most fist-pumping, blood boiling anthem of the year. “Anarchy” is short, sweet, and to the point but it is oh so good! Ahead a light is shimmering. The Cowboys show a city underground directly underneath the playground. It looks strangely like “California” which has such a killer groove and chorus that you would be damned before leaving. As you walk the underground city streets, you spot a “Lickin Dog” and hear one of the best guitar riffs off the album as well as some of the angriest lyrics Crashdiet has ever dared pen. A “Circus” looms up ahead but you are hesitant to enter. The frenzy of the verses plus the unadulterated fun of the chorus lines are enough to shake you up and get you running. You run so far that you end up in “Sin City” which feels so 80’s-hair-metal-tastic and is defiantly the most retro sounding song on the album. Now you “Got a Reason” to stop and listen for a second. The chorus to this one is insanely catchy and the verses crooned by good ole Simon Cruz are almost too sleazy if that were actually possible. Soon enough, you enter a bar and begin “Drinkin Without You” which has one hell of a rhythm and a great solo by none other than Martin Sweet with Eric Young and Peter London frantically dueling alongside. Suddenly, you spot “Snakes in Paradise” which is undoubtedly the sexiest and sleaziest Crashdiet has ever been. The chorus is sweet and the vocals are just my cup of hair metal tea. You see across the bar a “Damaged Kid” drinking and you become “Excited” in a hurry to speak with her because she is dazzlingly beautiful. These two songs are considerably great with some fine riffing, soloing, singing, and of course lyrics running amuck. Did I forget to mention that the lyrics on this album are outstanding? Well I should!
After drinking your fill, you step back outside and are greeted to a new setting, the daunting and gasoline fueled, “Garden of Babylon”. Now this is how you end an album! Finally a band gets it where they do not need to play pointlessly for seven odd minutes just to end the album on a sour note. Crashdiet have achieved the unthinkable and actually made a sleaze epic with this one! My God, the sheer power of the vocals and chorus is enough to sell me on a band that has never given up even in the face of tragedy. This album, this playground, is the real deal folks. I cannot quite put into words the happiness I have with this album in my collection. All I can say is thank you, Crashdiet. Thank you so much for at least changing my world.