So another Swedish project has landed in my lap in the form of “Swedish Hits Go Metal 2”. Now I have never really been a ‘fan’ of those “Pop goes punk” or “Metal goes pop” type releases, they usually cheap, rubbish compilations that irritate me to no end. But I have learnt with the Swedish musicians, that they often produce and release super high caliber quality albums that are often a force to be reckoned with. Now I have not listened to the first release of Swedish Hitz Goes Metal, so I cannot compare the two for you, but I’ll do my best to fully give you the best overview I can on this one.
Now over the years I have often looked at the labels the bands are on to determine, or atleast give me an idea of what I could expect from a particular band. Like with labels like Thumper Punk Records, if you in to punk, you gonna listen to some of the best punk bands out there, hands down. Now same can be said with the Swedish record label, Doolittle Records when it comes to Hard rock or Heavy metal……you are almost sure its gonna be a quality product that could be good or even earth shattering. So “Swedish Hits Go Metal 2“ is co-released through, Liljegren Records/Doolittle Group, that said even before I listened I knew I was going to listen to something that is by no means a average basket-case of cover tunes. Its like when you see the name Steven Spielberg attached to a movie, by all likely hood its going to be a great movie of high caliber, and will have all the right ingredients include to be a box office smash hit.
The man behind this release is Tommy ReinXeed, a highly talented individual from the North of Sweden, who has proved himself both as a singer and a guitarist, and once again brings his successful talent to the fore for the Swedish Hitz Goes Metal 2. Tommy has released several studio albums over the years, namely with ReinXeed and Golden Resurrection and is noted for his extra-ordinary musical talent especially in Japan and Sweden. With the great success of the first Swedish Hitz Goes Metal, request for a new album and some new concerts became a frequented appeal by the fans worldwide. So during the summer of 2013 they finally got some time to follow up on the successful formula of the last one by recording a second volume which includes rehashing songs into their own unique metal interpretation by such popular bands as ABBA, The Cardigans, Rogyn, Da Buzz, Meja and Lorreen. So with the formalities out of the way, lets get down to the actual album and what it brings to the party. For starters the bands songs they cover the most of here on this release is from Abba, might have liked to have seen a more varied range of covers, and not so dominated by a particular artist even if they are responsible for many Swedish hits over the years.
We start off with “Dancing Queen” (ABBA cover), a great first track, and well executed, Tommy big sound experience penetrates with good effect, and what you get is a great song that does not distract from the original, and bares a good resemblance to the original but with a metal influence. “Don’t Stop The Music” (Robyn Cover) the second track comes in powerfully and is a true rocker, and when listening to the original side by side with the cover, I must say Tommy has won here for me. Love the running bass line in it. Its Anthemic like the original, but has a wonderful energetic pace and his own unique touch is evident throughout, making this his own. A clear favorite for me on this release. “Alive”(Da Buzz Cover) another great cover! One needs to realize that Tommy plays in Reinxeed, a symphonic power metal band, so a lot of that influence comes through quite dramatically, which guarantees that if you are a Reinxeed fan, you would immediately find likable familiarities and ultimately for Tommy, it means he has already a captive audience, which over-all should help facilitate the success of this concept album, of which highlights this talented individual musical ability behind such a powerhouse band as Reinxeed.
From track 4 through to track 9 One gets a barrage of ABBA covers that include “One Of Us”, “Does Your Mother Know”, “Tiger”, “Rock Me”, ”Voulez – Vous” and “Take A Chance On Me” . Which concludes in part to me if you happen to appreciated ABBA’s music then you’ll either find this extremely entertaining and enjoyable or if you are not a metal fan, maybe you’ll find this a little amusing. The covers are all well down in that Reinxeed fashion, and you need to know that Tommy draws much of his inspiration and influence from bands or musicians like, Robby Valentine, Michael Kiske-era Helloween, Edguy, Gary Moore, Sebastian Bach-era Skid Row. Also as Reinxeed they are also influenced by soundtrack movies such as Lord of the Rings. That soundtrack epic-ness is felt through most of the songs and are all as a whole large in heart. So if you are a fan of any of the above aforementioned bands or musicians then this is something like me that you want to own, and is a great addition to any metal heads cd or mp3 collection. “All About The Money” (Meja Cover), another great cover, and you once again experience the same big arena feel as many of the previous tracks. Tommy’s voice for me shines well on this. “ Euphoria” (Loreen Cover) continues with that big arena rock feel with a epic symphonic style and progressive elements, that could be fitting for a movie score. “My Favourite Game” (The Cardigans Cover) finishes the album with a bang, once again following what Tommy and Reinxeed do best in their symphonic metal form, giving the song its own character, and yet retaining the spirit of the original, though I think in the movie epic side of things I think this song is better than the original, which is something hard for me to say since I generally feel most covers are not better than the original. But the song is so well executed that on its own for me it holds a score of 10/10. Tommy ReinXeed has earned my respect and falls into the same category as Pelleck, a master at taking original hits and putting his own artistic spin on it with the result of more than not, a highly formidable cover song that can fight it out with the original, and even sometimes come out the better contender.
In final there are very few cover songs that impress me more than the original. Not many artists can better the original, but on Swedish Hits Go Metal 2, Tommy proves that he can take an orginal song, and improve on it in most cases, something that cannot be easily said by some other artists. I have respect for what has been achieved here, impressed by the production quality and compositions. Other than that he covers a whole lot of ABBA songs (I have nothing against ABBA by the way), this is a superb release that could be played loud in the car, even louder at a party, and would be great seeing it at its loudest in a live format. This is any weather metal, enjoyed as one, or with a crowd. I highly recommend it, its a party cd that many will join in and sing-a-long with. Go grab yourself then a copy.
Written by Donovan de Necker
1. Dancing Queen (ABBA)
2. Don´t Stop The Music (ROBYN)
3. Alive (DA BUZZ)
4. One Of Us (ABBA)
5. Tiger (ABBA)
6. Does Your Mother Know (ABBA)
7. Rock Me (ABBA)
8. Voulez-Vous (ABBA)
9. Take A Chance On Me (ABBA)
10. All About The Money (MEJA)
11. Euphoria (LOREEN)
12. My Favourite Game (THE CARDIGANS)
Tommy ReinXeed – Guitars & vocals
Sebastian Roos – Bass
Johan Axelsson – Guitars & backing vocals
Anders Berlin – Keyboards & backing vocals
Andreas “HABO” Johansson – Drums
Swedish Hitz Goes Metal 1 (2011)
Swedish Hitz Goes Metal 2 (2013)
Record Label: Liljegren Records/Doolittle Group, Oct. 2013