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Great King Rat - 1992 Great King Rat

ARTIST: Great King Rat
ALBUM: Great King Rat
LABEL: Planet Records (Sweden)
YEAR: 1992


LINEUP: Leif Sundin - vocals * Anders Nilsson - guitars * Pontus Norgren - guitars * Mikael H”glund - bass * Thomas Broman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bright Lights * 02 Good Times * 03 Woman In Love * 04 Ball And Chain * 05 Take Me Back * 06 Follow The Rains * 07 One By One * 08 Dirty Old Man Stomp * 09 Calling For My Angel * 10 Top Of The World * 11 Bad Woman

Surely an interesting Swedish band, both before and after their 90's run. Prior to their GKR name change in 1991, the band were previously known as Sin City, and prior to that Odessa. Anyone remember their 3-track demo from the late 80's? Classic stuff from Pontus Norgren and the boys, but it's a pity nothing came more of that line-up. Also part of the pre GKR line-up was singer Conny Lind, best known these days as the voice behind Swedish duo Amaze Me, who was eventually replaced by future Treat singer Leif Sundin. Signed to the small Stockholm based label Planet Records, the Great King Rat debut caused a minor sensation upon its release in 1992. Truly, there are some smokin' songs on this CD.

The Songs
Let's be clear: GKR isn't as AOR as their previous incarnations; the band catching the 'hard rock meets blues meets glam meets sleaze' disease, which had infected so many bands during this timeframe. Some sounded great, others poor. In GKR's case, their class ensured they stayed above the waterline comfortably. Tell-tale signs of fantastic Swedish melodic rock start as early as track one 'Bright Lights'. The overall sound is caught somewhere between Mr Big and fellow Swedes Aces High. 'Good Times' is a riff-happy, party styled anthem perhaps.. 'Woman In Love' is a standout track for me, that bluesy and funky style reminding us of It's Alive or Electric Boys. Yep, great stuff. 'Ball & Chain' takes it up a notch; some pumping bass, and a singalong chorus augurs well. The song lyrics tell the story of a University student struggling with studies and exams while trying to keep his social life as active as ever. Familiar to many I'm sure! 'Follow The Rains' is a smokey blues-hazed rocker, which is emphasised even more by the Memphis styled harmonica delta-blues intro to 'One By One'. It's given a Swedish makeover. Moving down to the Louisiana Bayou now, 'Dirty Old Man Stomp' moves things in the same direction as Danish band D*A*D, who were great exponents of this hard-rock genre themselves. 'Calling For My Angel' takes a few snippets from that debut Extreme album, which would imply by default that the song has a funky edge.. and it does! 'Top Of The World' has the band reaching upward; the guitar sound is one that some bands can only dream about achieving. Finishing the album is a cover of that Odessa classic '(Bad) Bad Woman', though given an updated sound without the emphasis of keyboards. Still sounds great though!

In Summary
By 1993 however, the band had jacked it in; all members going off to other bands and projects. They did reconvene in 1998 for the 'Out Of The Can' album which was released the following year on the British label Z Records. Since then, significantly Norgren has gone on to The Poodles while the other members are involved in other projects. GKR still ranks as one of the better CD's released during 1992.

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#1 | sabace on August 13 2013 16:28:22
love this lp and the compilation cd outa the can!
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