Hardcore Superstar – Hcss (Gain 2015)

Hardcore Superstar has stayed true to their format for ten years now. They keep it up on HCSS, but maybe not to same level as before. The sound is pretty much the same as before, so are the topics and imagery. But something is lacking on HCSS, something that used to be their strength; fun.

HCSS is in a lot of ways what you would expect from Hardcore Superstar. They wear their GnR influences on their sleeve and play hard throughout. Dont Mean Shit is a solid opener, with high energy and some quality riffing. I’ve noticed that Vic Zino gets a lot flack on different forums, but he seems to be more than capable to wreck guitar havoc. Dont Mean Shit, Glue and The Ocean  are perfect examples of keeping it simple, real, thunderous and cool. Sometimes less truly is more, at least when it comes down to this kind of easy going, party rock n roll.

I like that they are free enough in their creative process to make songs like Fly, a slow song that just kind of flows silently on a little stream through a quiet Swedish landscape, as viewed by stoned Swedish rocker dreaming of  Planet Caravan.  I don’t personally care too much for the song, because it’s too repetitive and drags out something fierce, but just the fact that they have the balls to do it, is admirable.

The song I enjoyed the most are The Ocean, except for the piss pore intro. The Cemetery  is also a good song. Messed Up Sure could have been a classic, but the vocal melody doesn’t quite hold up. Glue is fun and very true to their format. Off With Their Heads is more metal than I’m used to form these guys, but that’s not a negative.

My main issue with this album is that it’s not as much fun and feel-good as I want it to be. It’s hard put my finger on just what makes it so, but it’s like something is missing from the mix. Inspiration? Patience? Time? I don’t know, but this might be their weakest output since 2001. Maybe it’s time to change things up a bit? Do an Opeth and make an album of ballads, no? Do something.

They have the attitude and I still enjoy the music, it’s just not their best work, that’s all.

Recommended downloads: the Ocean, Messed Up For Sure, Don’t Mean Shit

Hardcore Superstar – Dreamin’ in a Casket (Gain 2007)

I actually got into Hardcore Superstar as this album was released, but for some reason I barely even listened to it until recently. I kind of like it, it’s not brilliant, but it certainly have some great moments.

Hardcore Superstar is a sleaze band through and through, they look the part, act the part and play the music. After their “No Regrets” album they have taken a harder path musically. The music is now leaning more towards a GnR sound than the earlier Hanoi Rocks or Mötley Crüe sound. I both like and dislike it.

The album has a few stand out tracks, some songs that rock hard and heavy. In this kind of party anthem type music an easy sing-along chorus is of the utmost important, along with a guitar riff that’s both heavy, memorable and airguitar friendly. These two general rules apply to all kinds of party rock, glam or sleaze. If it gets too complicated, the vibe is gone and I skip to next song. Technicality is for prog-rockers not for sleazy party people.

That said, we can continue on to the music. The opening track “Need No Company” is a great live song, not the best studio song. It gets a bit boring and loses its drive in the studio version.

“Medicate Me” is great. It’s just got this x-factor thing going that I can’t explain. The melody isn’t that great, the riff isn’t that good, but combined it just works. The title track is a ballady type of song that contains some hard hitting, but not much. It’s a nice song for singing along to.

“Sophisticated Ladies” is brilliant! Everything is sleazy on this one, the guitars are so slick they would make a greasers hair seem dry and sandy. The lyrics are hilariously sleazy as well. The next song worth mentioning is “Sorry for the shape I’m in,” a nice little rocker about hang overs.

The rest of the songs don’t do much for me. The sound of the album makes it blend a little together. It’s not that it doesn’t sound good, it’s more that everything sound the same. I’m all in favor of the thought that an album should have a similar sound, but when every song has the exact same guitar sound, the exact same bass sound, the vocals sound the same … it’s no longer a good thing.