THE POODLES – Performocracy (2011)
The new, fourth album by THE POODLES is called “Performocracy” and can be seen as a logical continuance on the last album ‘Clash Of The Elements’. The band lost their guitar player Pontus Norgren to Hammerfall in 2008 and Henrik Borgqvist was brought in as a substitute.
The sound of their music changed to more melodic hard rock and the band showed to have grown, more mature so to call.
On their brand new album, The Poodles are shamelessly exploiting their influences from the late eighties / early nineties initial wave of ‘Scandi Rock’, synonymous with big hooks, big choruses and delightful harmonies.
The album opener “I Want It All” eases you in gently with its rhythmic, tribal intro, before crashing in with a no holds barred, sheer melody, setting the trend.
“Until Our Kingdom Falls” follows and is another mid tempo rocker, sounding remarkably like ‘Gotthard’, indeed vocalist Jakob Samuel sounds so much like the late Steve Lee that it fair makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
“Father To A Son”, is a beautiful melodic number which quickly discards its acoustic arrival, cleverly morphing into a gentle, brooding dual personality until both are displaced early on making way for a rollicking, rocker. This album has such an addictive energy that it doesn’t take long before the listener is beat into submission.
When the distorted guitar sound for “I Believe In You” swells I think of ‘Warmachine’ by KISS for a moment, but soon the song turns into a midtempo, powerful song with again a multiple voices chorus.
The first single is “Cuts Like A Knife” that after an intro with piano develops into a strong, theatrical song which tells a broken relationship and in which singer Jakob Samuel shines. This is a killer track with monumental melodies, showcasing the individual musicianship of a class act, yet no one element looks to steal the show.
“As Time Is Passing”, that starts with an acoustic guitar, is the only real (power) ballad like you do not often hear anymore. Think of a Cinderella style with a scandi touch.
The next song “Love Is All” starts with a piece of a speech, then because of the guitar sound and the complaining way of singing by Jakob this song turns very modern, with an eerie atmosphere. Do not be afraid, it stays a pure Poodles song.
“Your Time Is Now” is perhaps the heaviest song on ‘Performocarcy’ that hits you in the abdomen by its pulsating drums.
The threatening dark guitar sound of “Action!” is that low you can feel it growl in your stomach and the solo makes it even worse. Also Jakob sings lower like he has ever done.
Then the wolves cry in “Vampire’s Call” which has more tempo and reminds some a bit of the older Poodles material.
“Into The Quiet Night” is an epic semi-ballad with impressive chorus and melodic lines.
On the bonus track “Don’t Tell Me” the band reminds you the earlier albums, this is a bit dark track but still melodic. The guitar solo is pretty heavy in its conception.
Write songs is a profession, and the guys of The Poodles do know that profession by now I can tell you. The arrangements are well taken care of, there has been put a lot of attention into giving the songs ‘that’ something extra.
The lovely, sometimes fine guitar playing by Henrik Bergqvist, the monstrous drum sound of Christian Lundqvist, the pulsating bass of Pontus Egberg and the recognizable voice of striking frontman Jakob ‘Jake’ Samuel which gives the songs that extra distinctiveness. But also all the other instruments and effects make the songs interesting.
I can’t emphasize the craftsmanship and professionalism enough, such is the quality, an absolute aural delight. The extraordinary, impressive production and sound is outstanding.
The album’s artwork depicting the four band members is intriguing as it looks to shun the previous glam style, in favour of a rawer more serious image. This would appear to be a conscious effort to appeal to a wider rock spectrum, and one which given the content within, should effortlessly accomplish its objective.
This is a top tier Melodic Hard Rock album that may very well become the band’s magnum opus and for any fan of the genre to disregard it would be a big mistake.
01 – I Want It All
02 – Until Our Kingdom Falls
03 – Father To A Son
04 – I Believe In You
05 – Cuts Like A Knife
06 – As Time Is Passing
07 – Love Is All
08 – Your Time Is Now
09 – Action!
10 – Bring Back The Night
11 – Vampire’s Call
12 – Into The Quiet Night
13 – Don’t Tell Me (Bonus Track)
Jakob Samuel – Vocals
Henrik Bergqvist – Guitars
Pontus Egberg – Bass
Christian Lundqvist – Drums
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT!