HARDCORE CIRCUS – Wake Up Call (2010)


With the word ‘hardcore’ right there in the band’s name, it’s only natural to wonder if that’s the style of metal on tap, but those who ‘abhor the core’ in their music can relax and wipe the look of disgust off their face, because this Swedish super-group actually have their feet firmly planted in Melodic Hard Rock territory, albeit with a heavier, more metallic approach than is typically found in the genre.

While HARDCORE CIRCUS is being hailed as a ‘super-group’ project, you are forgiven if most —maybe all— of the players’ names are unfamiliar to you, though most melodic rock fans have probably unknowingly crossed paths with at least some of these guys on other albums.
With the exception of Mats Leven, who unleashes his stellar voice in the harmony vocal department, the members have slaved in other bands without gaining any real notoriety.

But lack of notoriety does not necessarily mean a lack of talent and all the players have significant ties to some legends in the melodic hard rock community.
Drummer Joakim Bloohm worked with Chris Laney on Animal’s Violent New Breed CD.
Lead singer Jorgen Bolmstad worked with Thomas Vikstrom in the Swedish melodic rock band Surround. Bassist Nalley Pahisson has plied his trade with the likes of Treat, Last Autumn’s Dream, and Therion.
Rounding out the roster is guitarist Carl-Johan Grimmark who has showcased his fiery neoclassical licks with Narnia, Rob Rock, Savior Machine, and Divinefire.

Speaking of guitars, while Grimmark may be best known for his sizzling neoclassical shredding, there is none of that on display here; instead, the guitars are of the take-no-prisoners variety, thundering with heavy grooves and muscular as a raging rhino.
If you’re looking for mean, powerful, in-your-face riffs that really pack a primal punch, then this album is probably right up your proverbial alley.

“Wake Up Call” could best be described as melodic hard rock with a strong metal edge.
Songs like “She Goes On”, the Skid Row-esque “Tattooed Junkie”, and the title track are convincing numbers melding the heavy with the melodic.
“Under My Skin”, behind the wall of guitars, is extremely melodic and infectious.
“Who I Am” and the groovy “Queen Of Dirt” draw you in with some friendly catchiness, while the rather rude but deeply catchy-chorused “Life” is one of the best songs here.
The final track, the milder “Miracle” is another highlight which has a hint of Michael Bormann about it.

“Wake Up Call” is a solid melodic hard rock album with a tough, biting edge to this style of music, and in terms of pure attitude, they have succeeded.
The performances are energetic and fun across the board.
Jorgen “Jojje” Bolmstad’s voice is a characterful entity, taking a few parts Jon Bon Jovi, a nod to Tommy Heart of Fair Warning, then putting some other inflections in for good measure. He gives the album a bright spunky vibe, a feeling backed up by the excellent guitar playing, blasting rhythm section and cool backing voices.
The production is clear and punchy, sometimes on the raw side and drenched in a thick, beefy bottom end sound.
This is a really enjoyable release, dynamic and entertaining.

1. She Goes Down
2. Queen of Dirt
3. Under My Skin
4. Who I Am
5. Life
6. Hardcore Circus
7. Wake Up Call
8. Pain
9. Tattooed Junkie
10. Miracle

Jorgen Bolmstad : Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Carl-Johan Grimmark : Guitars
Nalley Pahlsson : Bass
Joakim Bloohm : Drums

Guest musician:
Mats Leven : Harmony Vocals


1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great CD in my opinion, I wish they would do a second CD in the same style.

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