Take your favorite Dimmu Borgir video, transport it back to the ‘80s Sunset Strip, add four young lads from Sweden, some horror elements and you have the modern day trans-genre morphing of Stockholm’s Toxic Rose. They may call Sweden home and be wrapped tight in spiked black leather but their sound screams of ‘80s arena rock with a modern day rock twist and helping hand of spandex and aqua net soaked hair. Appearance wise, they may be more suited for a cold dark Norwegian torch lit forest after midnight but vocalist Andy can belt out high pitched screams and shrieks like any of the golden gods of yesteryear.
A concubine concoction of KISS, WASP, Motley Crue, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth could be responsible for this living, breathing, though somewhat undead looking foursome, with influential connections to Children of Bodom. They probably shouted at the devil a long time ago Inside the Electric Circus. Though they don’t necessarily take heavy influence from the LA scene for every drop of blood dripped on camera and stage they realize some will draw that conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with looking like a trans-colored ghoulish combo of Nikki Sixx and Shagrath. We can all fit black metal, modern rock, glam and sleaze in the same house and mosh/rock it out.
Though they have childhood love for the Sunset Strip scene they consider themselves having a more modern metal sound. They turned, what could have been a bizarre genre mismatch into strange but attracting bed fellows. To look at them, you might think they came from somewhere between the ‘90s and modern day black metal scene but after plugging in, they play a very modern hard rock sound, teetering between classic rock and sleaze.
“I have always loved the sound and look from the ‘80s strip era since I was a kid but I don’t think we have that much influences in our sound, we have a more modern melodic metal kind of feel to us. We’ve never been a retro ‘80s band, but in some way people seem to think we are,” explains guitarist Tom.
The toxic bloom started in 2010 presumably from the bowels of some enchanted basement or garage without the help of unnamed spellbinding practicum texts.
“The band was formed back in 2010 when Andy (vocalist) and Michael’s (drummer) old band Lipstixx ‘n’ Bulletz had been put to rest,” Tom says. “The band I was in at the time wasn’t happening anymore so the timing was right when I met them at a party and we hit it off well and started working together. Later on we hooked up with Goran on bass to complete the lineup that became TOXIC ROSE.”
Toxic Rose may conjure images of a young Axl Rose and crew slithering around the Troubadour or Roxy, but Tom says it’s more of a metaphorical meaning. “It’s a ying yang thing, the beautiful meets the ugly. We have a lot of skull crushing riffs mixed with melodic melodies, so I guess it sums up our band pretty good.”
“We have put in everything we like and think looks wicked and cool, but I think you could say that we have Kiss, W.A.S.P, Mötley Crue Shout at the Devil-era mixed up with the Scandinavian ‘90s black metal as our image style inspiration.”
Their five-track self-titled debut EP released in 2012 featuring A Song for the Weak was a bombastic hello introducing the public to the crisscrossed Toxic Rose world of metal genre splitting with Andy letting the pipes wail.
They toured their homeland and surrounding areas with scene peers Fatal Smile, Sister and Crash Diet, among others gaining a following, showing that among other genres, black metal and glam are truly global.
The new album Total Tranquility is out June 10 on City of Lights/Rock it Up records and Vinyl on Burning Skull Records. Featuring 10 tracks, the video for opener World of Confusion has all the strapping’s of black metal bravado with clean rock vocals and We All Fall Down has a heavier crunch taking a big screen, rooftop page from the MTV era.
On eventually coming to bang heads in the U.S. Tom says, “Hopefully we will make it to the U.S. sometime. We would love to come over and give you some TOXIC ROSE bad-ass live shows but it’s difficult these days.”
On meeting his idols, if ever given the chance, “Oh, I would love to sit down over a cup of coffee with the almighty Paul Stanley and talk about the album Unmasked, such a great album and very little has been said about it. It would be an interesting conversation for sure.”
As for dream tours he’d like Toxic Rose to open for Metallica and Iron Maiden. May the metal gods make that tour happen, “A tour with TOXIC ROSE, Metallica & Iron Maiden would be a blast, killer lineup!”
As young musicians, they have a long, prosperous road ahead with plenty of time for bucket list ambitions.
“Playing Japan is the first thing that comes to mind, it’s something I really wanna do. But besides that I think the only thing I wanna accomplish is doing more albums and keep on doing what we do.”
Rock star level debauchery may or may not have happened yet but they do have some road stories to tell.
“Besides some bus crashes, stuff gets broke and crazy praying etc. Every time I think of this story it makes me smile. We were playing a small tour in Finland a couple of years ago, a fan came out to the first shows but he had some problems going to the third show, cuz he didn’t have any money and he had to travel a long way. But he managed to steal his mother’s car and drove to the show and got in on the guest list. Now that’s dedication and something I will never forget, he is my hero.”
Their plans for the rest of the year going into 2017 include personal branding, winning over as many new fans as possible and play live as much as humanly possible. Their sound can conjure up many bands and genre’s depending on the listener but to Tom, it sounds like, “Heavy, melodic metal with catchy choruses, made to be played on eleven!”
If bands like Helloween and Iron Maiden are your thing, Toxic Rose will be a good fit in the CD library, iPod, etc.
“Check out the new album Total Tranquility and hopefully we will see you on the road! Cheers!”