Once every while, a band will come along and stir shit up. Like the man in the box, they will jump right in front of you, more or less from out of nowhere, with music that makes you want to break stuff and rock the world and you wonder where the hell they came from. Don’t you just love it when that happens? Sometimes it’s the other way around. A band comes along and even though they suck big elephant balls, they become huge and you can’t for the world figure out why? Of course, everything is a matter of taste, but I can’t for the world figure out the greatness of bands like Sabaton, Volbeat and Takida. What has all this got to do with Crunge, you might ask? Well, as a new band that hasn’t really got any airplay from their earlier releases, their 2011 self titled four track CD and their 2012 E.P. Throwdown, they are the kind of band that stands the chance (or risk) on going either way. Crunge is a hard rock / metal band from Stockholm, Sweden that has been around for a few years now and has played Swedish festivals like Getaway and Metaltown, but despite that they haven’t been covered lots in the press and therefore Crunge feels pretty underground still. For me personally, I have known about the band for some time now. I have their debut four track CD, which in all honesty must be seen more as a demo CD than an actual release, and I have also witnessed them live in small clubs on two occasions. As a live act, Crunge is a full-blown powerhouse that will rock the socks off of those who attend and of course, that has left me yearning for a studio release. However, in my case, I find it very hard to digest songs I’m unfamiliar in a live situation. If a band is a live killer, like Crunge are, then I love the songs – there and then – but there’s no saying if I’m gonna like them at home, in my car or through my head phones. A band can be awesome live, but suck on record. Still, their four track CD was to my liking so my conclusion is that their debut full length album will be at least good. Also, the first single that pre-dated the album release, called “The Treason”, bode real well for the coming release of the album. A straight forward pretty modern hard radio rock song, heavy yet melodic and catchy, it was a really good choice as the leading single.

A quick intro called… eehh.. well, “Intro” leads into the opening track “Days Left Behind” and I am won over already after half the song. What a killer! It’s a heavy tune with some Metallica influenced riffing, but the song has a melody that goes back to the melodic hard rock of the late 80’s and a knock-out chorus and I am down for the count. They have also managed to put in some growl / screaming courtesy of Mathias Blom from Nale. “On A Note” follows and it takes a completely different turn. Slow old thrash metal riffs mixed with a clear modern rock radio vibe a’ la Nickelback with some early 90’s grunge vibes and a brilliant melody as the icing on the cake – how awesome! The influences piles up on the magnificent “Desolate”. Alice In Chains, Mustasch and Megadeth are all in there until the chorus kicks in and there I think of later day Europe, their more bluesy, classic hard rock sound. Very catchy and very heavy! “The Mile” is a slower piece, almost ballad-like with some darker, alternative influences on an acoustic foundation. Great mold-breaker and an awesome tune. We have already gone through the great single “The Treason” so we jump right into “Evil Woman” instead and here we get treated with some fine, classic heavy metal that we all love and cherish so much. It’s groovy, it has a killer beat and there are some really brilliant harmonies by one Pepper Potemkin, that lifts the song – great stuff indeed. “Out Of My Head” takes yet another turn and all of a sudden we’re on a journey to the American south. The song is based on some really fine acoustic swamp-blues riffing that makes the tune groovy as hell, but at the same time it is dark and heavy and sports an extremely catchy refrain – this is majestic stuff! They close the album with “Time”, an Alice In Chains-type of ballad with acoustic guitars and strings and a dark and almost evil vibe. Towards the end, the song turn electric and pretty hard, but the overall sound is heavy from the start.

Wow! I must say this album really floored me. This is not a good album, this is a f**king great album! What strikes me most is that the band’s influences comes from everywhere. If I would describe Crunge, I’d say they land somewhere between Corroded and Mustasch, but with a sense of melody above both of them. But that still wouldn’t be fair because I can hear influences from elsewhere – modern radio rock, heavy metal, thrash, melodic hard rock and grunge, this is varied stuff to say the least and what impresses me a lot is that they always keep their own sound, it never gets schizophrenic or sprawl in different direction musically. Heavy yet melodic, modern yet classic. And not one bad song on the entire album! Besides, we’re dealing with some high quality musicians here and singer Mathias Blomster has a huge voice, a wide range and a varied way of singing. Here’s the deal, if they play their cards right, they will be that band that stirs shit up, they will be the band that makes you wanna break stuff and rock the world. This album is a contender of the Album Of The Year award and January isn’t even over yet. Besides, they have a tour coming up supporting Hardcore Superstar and H.E.A.T. with Smash Into Pieces and Outtrigger called The Bandit Insanity Tour (Bandit being a Swedish hard rock radio station) and with a killer album out and a live show to match, I’m sure there won’t be long until Crunge makes it big. Will Crunge be the next big thing in metal / hard rock? I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens, I’d be more surprised if it didn’t. Remember where you heard it first. And get the record!

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)