JERUSALEM – She (2011)
Hard Rock pioneers JERUSALEM formed in 1975 was first Swedish rock band performing on MTV already in 1981 with songs from their classic album ‘Warrior’.
The group is a concept in music in Scandinavia and Europe, and has delivered hard-hitting hard rock for over 30 years.
They’re one of the first credited bands for blending Christian theme lyrics with a Hard Rock sound and it began to gain them not only Christian fans, but mainstream fans as well, that looked past the lyrics and enjoyed their hard rock, party style atmosphere.
Since the mid-eighties, Jerusalem took a different direction by going to a more melodic rock sound and not overtly gearing the lyrics towards Christianity.
Now, the band is releasing their first studio album with completely newly written material in 16 years: “She”.
Ever since the ‘Prophet’ album (1994), Jerusalem sort of shed their pure hard rock roots and went for a more updated rock sound, a blend of light Scorpions with earlier U2.
Some fans have liked it and some wished they’d head back to their earlier sound. Well, it seems with “She” there is a mishmash of both.
The first track “Calling On” makes me very pleased with good tempo: kickin’ drumming from Mr Ulvsgärd and nice guitars. Ulf Christiansson voice doesn’t feels like he’s passed 60 rather in his 40s. His vocals are the key to the band’s character and his style has changed over the years, now sounding like a Swedish Bono on many tracks and like Klaus Meine on others.
Eighties U2 is written all over on other tracks such as the more radio friendly “Suddenly”, the rockier “Save My Life” and the closing ballad “Standing At Jericho”.
U2 aren’t the only reference point; the energetic “I Want to Leave Her” could be a recent D-A-D song, “Crown The King” is reminiscent of Simple Minds with a rockier edge and “Heaven” sounds like 90’s Scorpions.
A couple of the tracks also hark back to their hard rocking roots; “Come On” which centers around a big riff that allows the band to jam around, and “Amos 5”, again with a big rock riff and a vocal delivery that reminds me of Fish with its spoken parts that turn to vitriolic singing.
There are also several ballads, as the hypnotic ‘Supernatural’, or the slow
title track “She” which has one of the best vocals on the record, where Ulf sounds absolutely as Scorpion’s Klaus Meine.
Reading the references above you might think this is a pop album. Not at all.
This is just rock, a rock album with a hard edge.
It’s good to see a band not resting on their laurels and trying to recreate past glories, but move their sound into the next century.
Good melodies abound, with an upfront bass underpinned by a strong drum sound that drives the band, and spirited The Edge-like guitars throughout.
The vocals are clear, very well performed and in perfect pitch. Ulf shows he can still belt it out; his vocal performance is solid and commanding.
Another good point is that the lyrics don’t penetrate as Christian based.
“She” is a really interesting addition to the many albums that have surfaced from Sweden this year, a solid rock piece which should please the fan base and garner new listeners.
01 – Calling On
02 – Come On
03 – I Want To Leave Her
04 – Suddenly
05 – Supernatural
06 – Save My Life
07 – She
08 – Amos 5
09 – Crown The King
10 – The Story Of D
11 – Heaven
12 – The Greatest Party
13 – Standing At Jericho
Ulf Christiansson: Lead Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards
Peter Carlsohn: Bass & Backing vocals.
Michael Ulvsgard: Drums & Backing vocals.
BUY IT !