Even Keel

1.   Truth Or Dare
2.   Bitten By You
3.   Pretty Little Liar
4.   Promises
5.   I Wanna Rock You
6.   Speeding Into Slow
7.   Somewhere
8.   Keep Out
9.   Scream Out To Be Heard
10. In Your Arms

Björn Lodin - Vocals
Gábor Mirkovics - Bass
Zsolt Vámos - Guitar
Zsolt Borbély - Drums

Égni Kell (2005)
Égi Jel (2005)
100% Hard (2007)
Traveler (2008)
Time Is Waiting for No One (2010)



Released 18/3-2011
Reviewed 6/4-2011


Hungary is hardly known for the many fantastic hard rock bands origing from the south European country. And perhaps this is why these guys have employed a Swede to sing, since Sweden are the acknowledged and unquestioned masters of rock. Well... One of them at least since it every year comes new bands that gets world famous while Hungary probably are most known for Ektomorf and to be honest, Ektomorf are not the biggest band in the world. But since Ektomorf are the best known Hungarians lets compare Hard with them since this band already makes a statement in their band name that they are so very hard. One could say their entire image is built around it and to be honest I for one feels that because of this they should also be hard in their music. And with that I mean Ektomorf hard, at least! However, Hard is far from Ektomorf in hardness. It's heavy, but in the same fashion as Rolling Stones or let's say Bonafide. But hard - that's something different. Hard is to drive straight in to a brick wall with a lorry. Hard is to build a car with a mustasch out of aluminium, looking like a container and call it Geoff. Hard is to surf a tsunami wave and crash straight in to a nuclear power plant, causing it to explode and have a meltdown that affects the entire planet. That's hard (!) but not Hard. They do none of this. They rock more like a heavily loaded cargo ship and might just be chocking enough for old religious freaks that are ready to pull out their Bible and preach about how this is Satans music. To me, however, they couldn't even harm a fly.

So Hard is a Hungarian band with a Swedish vocalist. His name is Björn Lodin and he has much experience from different bands and projects. His voice reminds me most about scab - dry and moldy but with a function. I hardly need to say that it's far from a beautiful voice, it's a rock 'n' roll voice that you can break glass with and it reminds me more of one of those dust cleaning cars that sweeps the streets in the spring than Curling. His band mates have a lot of strange names and the music they play are actually quite good and even better than so in average doses and some of the songs. The songs average about 4-5 minutes and are played in mid-tempo - neither slow or speedy. Melodies are mid-varied - neither technical or punk-rock simple. And what else you can say is that the album is made according to the template the old dodo-birds designed in the 70s (like Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore).

The first vocal line is Björn Lodin asking us if we're good in bed and the song he's asking it in is the initial song Truth or Dare which musically I think sounds much like a roaring Harley Davidson with a guy screaming him self hoarse. And as the songs pass there's actually not very much that differs from this, the albums sounds more or less like this straight trough. At least until you reach the last song, called In Your Arms which is a ballad - and a quite nice one too. The band feels like pretty good musicans that have lots of competence with their instruments, which can be heard from time to time when it gets more technical. However, this isn't technical music, overall I'd say the thought of being a new Rolling Stones that plays rock 'n' roll is more appealing to this band than to be some sort of Gutenberg with music. The only problem is that Rolling Stones already exist and have done so for ages, we don't need another one.

However... Honestly, I don't think Hard sounds like Rolling Stones at all. My thoughts goes more to Bonafide and that's a band I think is completely pointless that us good at what they do, which is to copy and paste what other bands have done before. Hard, though, is not completely pointless since they at least tries to do something of their own. But I don't think they succeed in distinguishing them selves from the pack. Most on 'Even Keel' sounds like things we've heard before. Like this kind of "classic" hard rock normally do - which is some disted guitars, a hoarse vocalist, a pretty heavy sound and rock 'n' roll melodies. Sure, if your hair is growing grey and hair around the ears are now as much as the hair around the eyes and those eyes wears glasses when reading nowadays - well then there's nothing to discuss. If this is the case then we have a perfect album for you when you sit comfortly at home in the wing chair in front of the best investment in your life (your very own wood-burning stove) and dream about trading the wing chair for one with electric massage function.

To us living in the present, that doesn't have more wrinkles than sense and that thinks music doesn't necessarily needs to sound like motorcykles or go straight ahead like a train. And most of all, does think that the definition of hard have changed since the 70s when Beatles still could raise an eyebrow. Well, in the hearts of these there might not be such a grand slam. It's good music for the audience they target but it won't reach across the boundries of genres or generations. They do however succeed to push more keys than ctrl-C and V when they write their songs and for that I think they are worthy of one more H than their fully Swedish counterpart.


Label - BLP-Music
Three similar bands - Bonafide/Tramp/Gotthard
: Caj Källmalm