Producer Mats Valentin is at the helm for a third time working with The Poodles, after the success and buzz created by The Poodles last album, Performocracy. So what does this fifth studio album from the Swedish melodic metal merchants/hard rockers give us? Well if the first song Misery Loves Company is anything to go by, then a promising album.
Shut Up! And Happily Ever After don’t disappoint either and the missile firmly stays on target. These opening three songs all have a confident swagger, hook and brilliant instant melodies. Going Down offers up something a little new with the verses being served up on gentle guitars and then kicking in on the chorus, otherwise the first five songs are distorted and bursting with melody.
The longest track on Tour de Force is only five minutes and twelve seconds long, and arrives in the shape of a ballad. Leaving the Past to Pass is a solid and catchy experience with lighters held aloft and images of fans waving them in the night sky.
40 Days and 40 Nights showcases their pop-suss. Refined performances from Jakob Samuelsson, vocalist, and Pontus Egberg on bass alongside Christian Lundqvist on drums, plus the strong presence of guitarist Henrik Bergqvist make songs like the stomping Kings & Fools or the slick aerodynamic Now is the Time shine, but don’t really save throwaway songs like Godspeed and Only Just Began.
The CD format of Tour de Force offers up a bonus track called En För Alla För En (One For All For One) which is the official theme song for the Swedish ice hockey team. It is sung in their native Swedish, and it is excellent.
Overall Tour de Force delivers on expectation thanks to the success of its predecessor, but it’s not a perfect album.
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