ERIKA – Deaf, Dumb & Blonde (2016)
Melodic Hard Rockers will remember the late ’80s recording debut of Swedish singer ERIKA Norberg, and while she recorded other albums and always remained active, now returns in full force with a new album effort “Deaf, Dumb & Blonde“.
Erika was born on a cold winter night in Skelleftea, Sweden where she started her own band at just 12 years old. As a teenager she relocated to Stockholm to write and record demos with various rock bands. In the late 1980’s she dated and later married famous guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
In 1989 Erika was offered her first deal for a record, which was called Cold Winter Night, an album she co-wrote which proved to be a resounding success. The following tours were a sell out and Erika became a rock singing sensation in Scandinavia and Japan.
Her marriage with Yngwie ended in 1992 and she found herself back in Stockholm and recording two more successful albums In the arms of a stranger and Lady Luck. The latter album featured the hit song Lost in Paradise a duet with Eurovision star Jan Johensen.
Now after an 18 year hiatus from a studio record, Erika returns with “Deaf, Dumb & Blonde” on the specialized melodic hard rock label Escape Music. And let me tell she’s nothing the album title says… well, blonde, yes.
First of all, Erika has lost none of her vocal skills. This gal can sing, she has a strong pure rock voice. Second, he surprises with a rocking album, the punchier of her career. The great majority of the 12 songs within this album are straight-up melodic hard rock with an edge, then wrapped in an AOR package.
With a sharp production by guitarist Alex Angleflod (who also play) and featuring great session musicinas, a virtual who’s who in Swedish rock and metal including Tommy Denander, Mic Michaeli (Europe), Jesper Strömblad (In Flames, Hammerfall) or Leif Edling (Candlemass) to name a few, the album really sounds kick-ass.
Most the songs are characterized by strong riffs and killer solos over an impressive often heavy rhythm section. Notable examples include ‘One For The Road’, ‘Killer’, ‘Suckerpunch’, and the bold rockers ‘Start Your Engine’ and ‘Go Down’.
The only exception to the hard rockin’ tunes is the ballad ‘Us Fools’, where you get a taste of Erika’s vocal tenderness.
I was expecting a much more ‘light’ return from Erika, instead, “Deaf, Dumb & Blonde” rocks with a welcomed punch and a fierce performance from the Swedish goddess.
She has surrounded herself with a bevy of fine talent: the songwriting, arranging, and musicianship is exceptional if not nearly impeccable. Couple these things with some very slick production and “Deaf, Dumb & Blonde” is some primo classic melodic hard rock.
01 – Killer
02 – Heroes of Heartbreak
03 – Suckerpunch
04 – Drama
05 – Hearts Gone Bad
06 – Sleeping with a Memory
07 – Once Upon A Time
08 – Go Down
09 – Us Fools
10 – One for the Road
11 – Start your Engine
12 – Warhoney
Lead & Backing Vocals: Erika
Guitars: Jesper Strömblad, Oscar Bromvall, Redas Jefisovas, Tommy Denander, Peter Rooth, Alex Angleflod, Johan Flodqvist
Bass: Marcus Blomberg, Jesper Strömblad
Keyboards: Mic Michaeli, Tommy Denander, Alex Angleflod
Handclaps: The Plura-Sex Society
Backing Vocals: Redas Jefisovas, Sebastian Qvarfordt, Oscar Bromvall, Marcus Blomberg, Tomas Blade, Lena Borg.
BUY IT !