October 18, 2022

There are two types of melodic rock fan with one sort being those who know and love the Swedish band Perfect Plan and then there are those who are about to know them; one thing that you simply cannot do is to ignore them. Perfect Plan formed in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 2014 and released the outstanding and ever so mature debut, All Rise, in 2017 which immediately made all those lucky enough to hear it sit up and take notice of a band surely destined to be major players in the world of melodic rock. They followed this up in 2020 with the equally brilliant Time For A Miracle being another devastating AOR album of immense proportions which built upon what the debut had built and then shot everything stratospheric! Great songs sung by an outstandingly good vocalist and exceptional guitars throughout reinforced that Perfect Plan was here and here to stay.

We now come to album number three in Brace For Impact and, no surprises, the band has produced another exceptional rock album that you simply cannot stop playing. It’s melodic rock for sure but there is an edge of steel throughout which makes this a touch heavier than what has gone before, and the extra power really does suit the band and gives each song so much extra emphasis. The band keep the same line-up as appeared on Time For A Miracle with Kent Hilli on vocals, Rolf Nordström on guitar, Mats Byström on bass, Leif Ehlin on keyboards and Fredrik Forsberg on drums and they all combine superbly. Yes, this is Swedish melodic rock but, as is usually the case, it has taken much of its direction from the American melodic masters of the ’80s so you can expect a revamped and updated take on the cultured AOR of bands like Journey and Foreigner with elements of Scandinavian AOR as offered up by Eclipse, Treat and H.E.A.T.

What is noticeable on first hearing of any Perfect Plan track is the quality of the vocals by Kent Hilli who is becoming a much in demand singer and he has one of the most truly impressive voices in melodic rock currently as his clarity, power and range commands your attention from the very first note. The songs are perfectly crafted examples om melodic rock at its best being a most pleasing mixture of up-tempo rockers and power ballads and all certain to become well-loved anthemic stadium rock delights. Hilli has great support from the rest of the band with Rolf Nordström again being a skilled guitarist who delights in supremely smooth guitar runs and solos with plenty of thrilling riffs to keep the album rocking along in perfect time. Leif Ehlin provides a touch of luxury with his swathes of melodic keyboards that add an almost orchestral feel to the proceedings with Mats Byström having settled into the band seamlessly and his relationship with Fredrik Forsberg is integral to the direction the band takes and what a rhythm pair these two makes. The album is a cultured, class filled affair and Perfect Plan would have easily fitted in with bands like Foreigner and Journeys if they had been around in the ’70s and ’80s which shows just how vital the band is and all the musicians are true master craftsmen in the AOR arena. Make sure you remember the name and especially that of Kent Hilli as he is a singer with a huge career ahead of him. In truth, Perfect Plan could easily be the Journey of this decade and yes, they are that good.

Brace For Impact has done what I thought may be impossible in that it builds on what has gone before and will propel the band to superstar status. Bold words indeed but check it out and you will be blown away that melodic rock can still be as vital and alive as this.

Brace For Impact

  1. Surrender (5:23)
  2. If Love Walks In (5:06)
  3. Can’t Let You Win (4:32)
  4. Gotta Slow Me Down (5:12)
  5. Stop The Bleed (5:39)
  6. My Angel (4:54)
  7. Devil’s Got The Blues (4:22)
  8. Bring Me A Doctor (4:37)
  9. Still Undefeated (3:54)
  10. Emelie (4:40)
  11. Walk Through Fire (5:31)