220 VOLT – Power Games [digitally remastered] (2017)
One of the leading, pioneering ’80s Swedish metal / hard rock bands is without a doubt 220 VOLT. With their second album “Power Games” from 1984 they became one of Europe’s most important acts in the genre, but curiously the record never was officially released on CD. Dutch label Music On CD finally made justice few weeks ago with this remastered version of this acclaimed album.
It would be about 1984 by the time it became apparent that 220 Volt deserved much more recognition than they were receiving, because “Power Games” is a pretty great melodic metal record that easily is the equal of any John Norum-era Europe release, even if there’s few here like ‘that keyboard line’.
The album is both louder and more memorable than the band’s first effort in every conceivable way, and it sounds like some Swedish counterpart to the American band Riot around 1983, with a lot of unspoken reverb to the tracks that simply ricochets off into a night sky full of dreams, aircraft, electricity and expectations.
You need listen no further than the opener “Firefall” to hear just how much they’ve developed in such a short time. Brazen, rocking mayhem with a superb sense for powerful chords that heighten both the verse and chorus, while intense, brief bursts of melodic guitar fills contribute to the momentum.
Then “Airborne Fighter” is like a searing bluesy metal with some nice melodic lines and another killer climax.
“Over the Top” is much more commercial and accessible, using some clean guitars and one of ‘those keyboard lines’ along with the chorus vocal, but it’s still got a sense of rhythmic determination akin to a Europe.
I also really enjoyed the mystical, plodding “Child or Beast” with its Arabesque verse notation, while “Don’t Go” and “Night Without End” are both really smooth and melodious.
220 Volt also delivers a melodic metal ballad in “Carry On”, with that unique ’80s atmosphere helped by classy keyboards and a strong chorus.
“Power Games” was a quite successful LP in the European market and a much sought after by the American fans of the genre. It has a brighter sense of ‘hit power’ without sacrificing 220 Volt’s inbred melodic metal talent.
It’s one of their better albums, though on the successor Mind Over Muscle they would take another considerable step up.
This fresh 2017 remaster / first time on CD reissue is fine – I heard better – so if you dwell in that gray area between ’80s hard rock and traditional melodic metal fan, this is one you should make haste to hear.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01. Fire Fall
02. Airborne Fighter
03. Over The Top
04. Night Without End
05. Child Or Beast
06. Mistreated Eyes
07. Don’t Go
08. Carry On
Joakim Lundholm – Vocals
Mats Karlsson – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mike Larsson – Bass
Peter Hermansson – Drums
Thomas Drevin – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
BUY IT !