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Art Nation - 2015 Revolution

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ARTIST: Art Nation
ALBUM: Revolution
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Alexander Strandell - vocals * Christoffer Borg - guitar * Johan Gustavsson - guitar * Simon Gudmundsson - bass * Theodor Hedstrom - keyboards * Carl Tuden - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Need You To Understand * 02 3000 Beats * 03 I Want Out * 04 Number One * 05 Don't Wait For Salvation * 06 All The Way * 07 Start A Fire * 08 Moving On * 09 Here I Am * 10 Look To The Sky * 11 Wage War Against The World * 12 All In



This is the Swedish band signed to AOR Heaven, with a historical link back to another Swedish outfit reviewed here previously: Diamond Dawn. It is lead singer Alexander Strandell who is the common denominator between the two bands. In my review of Diamond Dawn, I mentioned that Strandell was better suited to singing for an out-an-out rock/metal outfit, rather than the AOR tones of DD. Soon after, Strandell left to form Art Nation, and yep, my theory was proved correct, with 'Revolution' being one of the better melodic rock releases among the pack. It's a new lineup, Gothenburg based as before, but a band that rides the edge, rather than being smothered in pink and fluffy candy floss.

The Songs
H.E.A.T. fans sit up and take notice. This is an album to listen to when your favourite Swedish melodic rockers are taking a break. Along with the fantastic Martina Edoff CD Unity' (featuring H.E.A.T. members), this is where high quality Swedish melodic rock is coming from. You gotta love it. No respite is given from the start-line. 'Need You To Understand' is so much like H.E.A.T. you need to step out of the room for a minute to catch your breath. Stalking the hallways soon after, '3000 Beats' sounds like a flagellation nightmare, but we're taking about heartbeats rather than whips I would suggest. Likewise with the rollicking 'I Want Out', which wasn't the catch-cry that the former managers of Liverpool and Aston Villa would've been saying at the start of the latest EPL season, but there you go. Now they are shouting it from the rooftops! 'Number One' befits a strong anthemic chorus and a choice keyboard solo from Hedstrom. And how about that fat synth intro to 'Don't Wait For Salvation'? It leads onto better things, as you'll soon discover. Art Nation cut back the fancy stuff on 'All The Way' and decide on a guitar rocker instead. It's raw, and less dependent on keys, but that chorus is rather tasty.

It's all about the guitar and keyboard interplay on 'Start A Fire', the two tightly entwined on this track. 'Moving On' does indeed move on at a decent clip, the guitars are robust and the layered synths fill out all the spaces. Moving into the back-half off the CD, and things continue to impress. Like the impressive ' Here I Am' one of the better AOR tracks I've heard in 2015. Yowza! Art Nation decide it's time to chuck in a ballad at tack #10. 'Look To The Sky' is a bit of a melter, so good on them for that, but it's a straight piano and vocal ballad. No guitars to be heard or seen. 'Wage War Against The World' is the album's point-of-difference. The verses are staggered in delivery, though powerful and dense. Further Swedish comparisons kick in for the last track 'All In'. Miss Behaviour is an obvious selection, but regardless this is as Swedish as a blue and yellow flag.

In Summary
With the end of year lists suddenly about to become active, I feel Art Nation might be one that will slip through the consciousness decisions of many. That would be unfortunate, as 'Revolution' is a storming CD and should be right up there among one of the best Swedish melodic rock efforts of 2015. Don't be fooled in thinking these are second tier contenders to the aforementioned H.E.A.T.. Oh no, this is bloody good!

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#1 | gdazegod on December 05 2015 09:39:24
Art Nation - 2015 Need You To Understand
YouTube Video:
#2 | Jez on February 02 2016 12:40:26
Debut album featuring ex Diamond Dawn vocalist Alexander Strandell and another excellent band to add to the list of already established, quality Swedish melodic rock bands. Not quite up there with the very best of the year and it maybe 'borrows' a little too much from the H.E.A.T sound at times. But, for a debut, an extremely promising effort and definitely one to check out if you haven't already
#3 | TheGrandIllusion on December 10 2016 02:01:49
Currently, my favorite album and band of all time! Looking forward to their next masterpiece!
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