DEGREED – Life / Love / Loss [remastered + bonus] (2017)
Swedish melodic rockers DEGREED are re-releasing their first two records in a double album, remastered along with bonus material. To celebrate the band arrangement with Swedish booking Danger Music & Media and Sun Hill Productions, both albums are available again with a superb refreshing sound.
“Life Love Loss” is Degreed’s impressive debut album, plenty cleverly written modern melodic rock songs.
This album is amazingly well crafted, especially considering it’s a debut album. This is a young band that sounds like they’ve been playing together for decades.
The songs have big hooks and catchy choruses reminiscent of ‘80s AOR and melodic rock and yet they sound so fresh and modern, vary from hard rock to melodic rock and also some little progressive instrumentation thrown in for good measure.
While listening to “Life Love Loss” you can hear inspirations from Journey and Night Ranger to the more modern side of ’90s Harem Scarem, all wrapped up in catchy songs with strong vocals.
The album starts off strong with “B.O.D.”, which is a rocking song with tons of groove yet very accessible. Next is “Arms of Misery” which opens with some cool, ethereal keyboards and then settles into a great, modern-sounding melodic rock song.
“A Little Bit” kicks things up a bit with some crunching guitars and strong vocals along with a catchy chorus that you can’t stop singing.
The fourth track, “Captured by the Moment” is a nice surprise as it’s a cover song from Steve Perry’s first solo album Street Talk. You know the band has confidence if they start covering Steve Perry on their first release. The bigger surprise is just how good this version is.
That is a standout track as is the next one, “Just Imagine”. The keyboards and guitar work together at first to give this a bit of an ‘80s feel. It’s another one you can sing with and has great musicianship with an excellent, shredding guitar solo in the middle.
“Story of Life” is another rocker. Vocals are reminiscent of Danny Vaughn and the drums stand out too.
“Human Being” is another highlight. It’s a heavy rocker that starts out with vocal effects and a classic sounding keyboard. Then another catchy chorus follows. The song changes continually and has another great instrumental break.
“Color Me” is the most ‘80s sounding with keyboards and even a cowbell — Nice! “Catch the Feeling” starts off with shredding guitar that comes back in the middle of the song. Most of the track sounds like a modern, up-tempo Journey song.
“Keep Me Alive” is a solid, modern-sounding melodic rock song that, in a perfect world, should be getting lots of radio airplay. Then “My Fall” is another up-tempo, radio-friendly song.
“By Your Side” is a complete change from the rest of the album. It’s a slow, orchestrated ballad adding even more variation to all the different styles throughout the CD.
Bonus tracks are great as well: “Constant” is pretty anthemic ready for the arenas with a crescendo rhythm and an explosive chorus, then there’s a cover of Ozzy’s classic song “Bark at the Moon”, done in a Degreed style with a modern approach yet not less impactful.
“Life Love Loss” is a very solid debut album from this young Swedish outfit. The harmonies and choruses are strong enough to make the album easy to listen to, but the fluid musicality makes you want to listen to it over and over again.
This fresh remaster has improved the original release, clearer and bright.
01 – B.O.D
02 – Arms of Misery
03 – A Little Bit
04 – Captured By the Moment
05 – Just Imagine
06 – Story of Life
07 – Human Being
08 – Color Me
09 – Catch the Feeling
10 – Keep Me Alive
11 – My Fall
12 – By Your Side
13 – Constant
14 – Bark at the Moon (Ozzy cover)
Robin Ericsson – Lead vocals, bass
Daniel Johansson – Guitars, backing vocals
Jesper Adefelt – Guitars, backing vocals
Mikael Jansson – Keyboards
Mats Ericsson – Drums
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