December 24, 2019

If you like an hour of good honest rock and roll then you won’t go wrong listening to this one.

It really is extraordinary how Sweden seems to be churning out quality rock bands like hot cakes these days. Here is yet another one although they are not actually that new. Back in the late 70s and early 80s Swedish music wasn’t quite so fertile. Europe were very much the trailblazers in the nascent Swedish rock scene at that time. Amongst the bands doing the local circuits was one called Steelwings. The band were fairly well known nationally and managed to produce one self-named album in 1989 before disappearing. Well they are back now after the best part of four decades with their second album. If four decades between debut and sophomore releases isn’t a record then it must be damn close to it!

While the album title is presumably meant to refer to the band’s return to the music scene, I could rather cruelly accuse it of referring to the band’s musical style which takes us right back to the 1980s too. You can certainly hear bits of Judas Priest, Saxon and AC/DC in various guises in these songs. Vocalist and founding member Tommy Söderström certainly does a great job, sounding impressively close to Bon Scott. The two guitarists, Gert-Inge Gustafsson and Michael Lindman, are also founding members and churn out some quite impressive hook lines.

I was impressed by the album cover but I confess that a first glance at the track listing diminshed my enthusiasm for listening to the music. OK, I don’t expect a rock album to necessarily reveal the meaning of life to me but a track listing that starts with My Rock Is Hot and includes such insipid titles as Rock The Nation, All Night, and Rock My Soul caused an alert to go off in my brain – the ones that say ‘Watch out, here comes some mindless routine rock and roll’. The good news is that musically the album does stand up well and even My Rock Is Hot had me tapping my toes just that little bit. Most of this set are mid-fast tempo with Night Time and the Zeppelinesque stomp of She Knows What It Takes very enjoyable tracks. The two most impressive compositions though are the two slower paced longer songs: the Dio-inspired Walk In The Sky and the slow rocker Ride On.

Let’s be honest: Steelwings won’t get into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame but you’ve got to give them credit for coming back after all this time and producing a fine effort. If you like an hour of good honest rock and roll then you won’t go wrong listening to this one.