I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Genre: Glam/Sleaze Metal
Release: Frontiers Records, 2019
Tracks: 11 / Run Time: 43:29
When they first hit the scene in 2005 with their debut album, Rest in Sleaze, Sweden's Crashdïet were pegged as one of the Great White Hopes of the hair-metal revival movement. Unfortunately, the band has had a mostly-bumpy ride since then, which has consistently kept them from truly capitalizing on that early notoriety.
In 2006, Crashdïet was rocked by the tragic suicide of founding vocalist Dave Lepard. Though they rebounded quickly with new singer H. Olliver Twisted, he only hung around for one album (2007's The Unattractive Revolution). The vocal slot was then filled by Simon Cruz for the next two Crashdïet discs (the excellent Generation Wild in 2010 and 2013's The Savage Playground) before he also exited the Crash-fold in 2015.
2019's Rust is the first Crashdïet studio album to feature the band's newest vocal recruit, Gabriel Keyes, whose impressive arsenal of screams and snarls honors his predecessors and fits the band's sound like a spiked leather glove. Just press "play" on Rust and let these guys smack you upside the head with a delightfully dirty cocktail of sleazy goodness that will bring back fond memories of the Sunset Strip metal days! (or should that be "daze?")
Crashdïet's Rust is a potent, obnoxious, slab of Hollywood sleaze inspired by the early, nastier works of Motley Crue (i.e.Too Fast For Love and Shout at the Devil) spiked with some of the metallic crunch of Skid Row circa Slave to the Grind or Second Coming-era Shotgun Messiah. I also hear a bit of Dokken's melodic influence in the slick choral harmonies.
The title track that opens the album kicks things off in a suitably sinister fashion -- the sugary chorus counterpoints the jagged riffing of guitarist Martin Sweet and the rumbling of rhythm section Peter London (bass) and Eric Young (drums). New boy Keyes' strong, confident vocal delivery shines on "Into The Wild," and the call-to-arms "Idiots" is an absolutely primo slab of prime Sunset Strip metal the way it used to be played. The music video for "Idiots" is a nostalgic hoot as well, with the Crashdïet boys recreating some favorite bits from such '80s headbanger touchstones as The Decline of Western Civilization Part II, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, and Wayne's World.
"The Maze" is a sweet slab of polished melodic balladry with a healthy dose of Hysteria-era Def Leppard, but just as you're starting to relax to its chilled-out vibe, you're pummeled by the fist-in-the-air anthem "We Are The Legion." "Crazy" features more irresistibly crunchy guitar riffing and the most addictive chorus on the album thus far (I still find myself humming "I always thought that you were crazy, baby..." under my breath on a regular basis.)
"Parasite" is another solid sleaze-metal cut which leads into the only real dud track on the album, the unbearably cheese-drenched AOR power ballad "Waiting For Your Love," whose synth-squawks and high pinched guitar squeals recall the worst of wankers like Whitesnake. Fortunately, the band quickly redeems themselves with the album's last three tracks. "Reptile" is a chugging, straight-up metal cut that will get the heads bangin' in the front row, and it also happens to contain my favorite lyric on the album: "I'm non-political, fueled by alcohol!" (I've decided that this shall be my new life motto.)
The goofball "Stop Weirding Me Out" is a fun, quirky pop-metal ode to a strange woman, and by the time the album ends with the slammin' "Filth & Flowers," you're likely to be stabbing the "replay" button to hear the whole album over again.
In short: it's great to have these guys back!
Summing It Up
I'm not sure yet if I prefer Rust over Generation Wild (my favorite Crashdïet disc to date), but it's growing on me with every listen, so it's likely to be giving G.W. some stiff competition in the months ahead.
I sincerely hope that Gabriel Keyes plans on sticking around for a while, because he definitely sounds like the right guy to lead Crashdïet into their next decade. Some stability in the vocal department would also help this band raise their profile in the U.S. Seriously, someone needs to get these guys an American tour, stat! Lord knows there are plenty of '80s metal fans here who are tired of listening to the same old albums by the usual suspects (Motley, Twisted, Leppard, etc.) and they would eat this stuff up. The Sunset Strip has moved to Sweden, and Crashdïet are back in the saddle with Rust.
© 2020 Keith Abt