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Sturm Und Drang - 2009 Rock N Roll Children

ARTIST: Sturm Und Drang
ALBUM: Rock N Roll Children
LABEL: Helsinki Music Company (HMC)
SERIAL: 5051865127024
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Andre Linman - vocals, guitars * Alexander Ivars - guitars * Jeppe Welroos - keyboards * Henkka Kurkiala - bass * Calle Fahllund - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Last Of The Heroes * 02 River Runs Dry * 03 Break Away * 04 Photograph * 05 A Million Nights * 06 Alive * 07 These Chains * 08 That's The Way I Am * 09 Life * 10 Sinner * 11 Fear Of The Dark



The term 'Sturm Und Drang' can be translated to mean 'storm and stress' and although with a name like this you may be thinking we are in Rammstein territory here, you would be wrong. Actually we are presented with a collection of great melodic shockers from a group still to reach their twenties. How much 'storm and stress' they have actually encountered at such a young age is debatable, but listening to this album, it does go down a storm and not a stress factor is in place. These 5 musicians are from Vaasa, Finland and this is the follow up to their debut 'Learning To Rock' released in 2007 while at the tender age of 16. With two singles already released from this follow up, they are making waves in many a melodic circle, especially over Europe. However, what I do find interesting about this album is when you start stripping back the group itself and look at the small print. For instance, I understand that the vocalist, Andre Linman, who's father is Patrick Linman, who co-writes all apart from 2 of the songs. Sounds familiar?, well check out the 1992 articles and find reference to a hard to find album by Linman called 'Heaven Calls'. In addition, the involvement of Johan Becker on many of the tracks. Johan who is presently enjoying a couple of successful euro pop hits under the group name The Star Pilots, please check the video for one of these tracks, straight out of 'Top Gun'! Also he was a product of Fame Factory (X-Factor, Pop Idol etc). Ok, so what? Well (although I can't find anything lately to corroborate this) here is my obscure link, in 1997 the UK based magazine, 'Frontiers', which used to fly the flag back in the dark days of the late 90's for AOR fans, covered a young teenager, called Johan Becker, again from Vaasa, Finland calling him the face of 97. Of course at the time you may think these 'Frontiers' folks may have been living on another planet, but hell, it looks like they made a pretty good discovery and even manage to include one of his tracks on the cover mount. Anyway, with anoraks well and truly put away, on with the review.

The Songs
The 'Last of the Heroes' begins with a Def Leppard brooding intro, before it is bombarding your ears with a retro melodic metal supremely performed with the freshness of youth. It tears pictures from an encyclopaedia of influences stopping at the chapters from Accept and Helloween. The freshest visual of metal for a while and brings in the Janne Warman, Children of Bodom keyboard sound.

'River Runs Dry' picks up on Stratovarius (their fellow Finns, who will probably never be fully acknowledged of how influential they have been) and contains just enough keyboards to make a significant difference. It hammers home its advantage with a strong chorus that actually has a boy band element to it. A large format of this tune follows the same path set down by Sonata Arctica, especially in how the vocals are layered. Alive? yes, totally original?, maybe not, however they present this particular genre in a different way.

'Breakaway', shows they have many potential live opening tracks piling up in their repertoire. Keyboards splashed over NWOBHM riffs. It's like seeing a blond haired girl with black eyebrows, something false but still very much appealing.

With 'Photograph' they have a track that gives them huge potential, we find a reduction in pace levels to provide the most AOR track of the album and it's excellent. Opens with a familiar Richie Sambora/Peter Frampton mouth piece distorted vocal and the Bon Jovi reference isn't far from the truth, mixed with Def Leppard (obviously with a song title like this), its back to the early days of MTV. But when you also add the likes of Giant, Winger and White Sister to the frame, Sturm Und Drang become much more than an also ran, definity covering all avenues (and boulevards.. hehe.. Ed) here.

'A Million Nights' is The Scorpions, but this time, it's Klaus Meine with hair! Again more Timo Kotipelto and some Ari Koivunen. Very much the accomplished power ballad, with lots of snow and ice, fires burning, wolves howling on an arctic sunrise.

'Alive' another fiery track that has alot in common with Fair Warning. Commercial melodic chorus, guitars riffing, excellent, a jet fighter of a track.

'These Chains' has a touch of Iron Maiden and not for the first time, Stratovarius influence shining bright, but more of a pop version. Again high quality melodic rock with pinches of power and neo classical metal. Sweeping melodies and an ultimate level of musicianship, very accurate, very precise and very clean, nothing has been left to chance.

'That's The Way I Am' brings The Rasmus and HIM together; both in the past these two bands have been making rock music more mainstream. While I have already mentioned the parenthood of Andre Linman, to me this could be best explained by that Sturm Und Drang being the offspring of ABBA members, all rebelling against these Swedish surrogate parents, but still unable to avoid the melodic tendencies ingrained in their souls, however much they fight against it. Brilliant.

This album also shows lots of basic AOR and scandi material here, just played with the exuberance of youth and this is displayed so well with 'Life'. This takes strides from Street Talk or really anything by Goran Edman singing on. The chorus is top grade AOR, lightly chugging guitars with Jake E Lee waistcoats and swirls.

The style of 'Sinner' is an exploding volcano of riffs, guitars crushed and torn apart with the air full of wood splinters. This type of track is picked from the first couple of solo albums by John Norum and like the track before, Andre favours his Goran Edman inspired vocals rather than Timo Kotipelo, which gives a much more satisfying result. Excellent hard rock track, very much like a heavier Baton Rouge. This finishes a triple of tracks that are the best on the album.

To finish with we have a cover of 'Fear Of The Dark' from Iron Maiden. Whilst it's ok, I would have taken the opportunity to cover the Dio song that fits in with the album title. Actually Sturm Und Drang have actually covered the Richard Marx ballad, 'Right Here Waiting' in their short career.

In Summary
Age wise, I have over double the amount of concentric rings if you chop me in half than most of these guys - if you were to carry out a similar tree surgery procedure, but I definitely never achieved (or even had the inclination) anything at their age that what they have displayed here. When I first played this I was mindful of the direction of the songs. I did feel they lacked certain individuality, maybe even directionless. However I have since changed my assessment to an enjoyable batch of songs that mix the old and the new. I am now struggling to find any deficiencies on this CD. Who said? 'You win nothing with kids!'

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#1 | gdazegod on June 11 2009 16:35:33
Matt Honey was one of the leading lights for Frontiers Mag.. if I recall. Good trainspotting Chris.. Patrick Linman is a very talented bloke, and that 'Heaven Calls' CD is pretty damn good! If his son has a modicum of his Dad's talent, then watching his career into the future will be a worthwhile experience..


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