THE POODLES – Devil in the Details
Remember a time during the 1990’s when melodic heavy metal/ hard rock couldn’t gain any traction following its MTV, arena headlining heydays just a few short years before? Fortunately times have changed, musicians and fans alike have broken away from the corporate mold and more than ever we are seeing a healthy return to songwriting, hooks, and catchy chords/riffs that lift people’s spirits and provide long lasting entertainment. Sweden’s The Poodles has been one of the main leaders of the resurgence since their 2005 inception – as their sixth album "Devil in the Details" keeps the focus on melodic heavy metal, possibly with a touch more depth than normal.
"Before I Die" as the opener contains a lot of wah-wah guitar action from Henrik Bergqvist and those larger than life melodies during the chorus that gain professional support from vocalist Jakob Samuel. The follow up "House of Cards" has a sleazy, modern sheen while not forsaking The Poodles emphasis on hooks. Throughout the arrangements possess the dynamic nuances necessary to carry the songs to the stage and remain memorable for months and years – even in the more commercial leaning "The Greatest" or the funky, almost Aerosmith throwback "Baby" you can’t help but be swept into the beat, word delivery, and choruses. Keyboards and technology advances support the band’s style, but I don’t think they mask or cover up any deficiencies, as the quartet certainly know their craft.
Since no song clips the 4:30 mark, these 12 tracks roll by in a modest 45 minute fashion, making this more than adequate for repeat listens without any filler material. The ‘tick tock’ clock from the refrain in "Stop", as well as the up tempo ready "Creator and Breaker" are the two current tracks from "Devil in the Details" that keep me coming back for more. Overall, the band continue to blend together the European sophistication with American hard rock principles – as I’m sure those who miss old Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Europe along with the muscle of Pink Cream 69 will understand where The Poodles loyalties lie. Another strong record in a very impressive catalog – seek this out.