Charlie Shred

1. Arise
2. Panic
3. Death Comes To All
4. The Rose
5. Tainted Inside
6. Time to Die
7. The Ancestors Guide
8. Game Over
9. Welcome to Hell
10. Fall Down

Calle Sundberg – Vocals & guitars
Mattias Johansson – Lead guitars
Johan Tranborg – Bass
Tommy ReinXeed – Drums, backing vocals & additional guitars & keyboards



Tommy Reinxeed (Producer)

Released 30/5-2012
Reviewed 8/6-2012


Charlie Shred plays on the borderline of thrash metal and melodic speed power metal (which in some circuits is more known as Helloween-metal or simply power metal) and considering the past of some of the members in the band they are a lot heavier and shaggy in their appearance than one could have expected when three members have played in the giggly, glittering light weighters Reinxeed - one even being Mr Reinxeed himself (or Tommy "Johansson" as he's actually called). Some of the ten tracks on this album even feels like old 'Kill Ém All' Metallica in a slightly more modern presentation and it's not surprising to see that the band mention Metallica as an important influence for both their music and vocal style. However, despite the fact that these Swedes are on the border of stealing their songs, Metallica is not the only band you can hear in 'Charlie Shred'. For example we find plenty of German thrash and power metal from the 80's and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal has also affected the material on this debut, as well as some other obvious thrash bands other than Metallica. To be really good, though, you need more than influences from the big bands - the material needs to be well-executed as well and the big question is wether Charlie Shred succeed in doing just that.

Well, most of the songs on 'Charlie Shred' are actually really good, despite being almost covers and if you only manages to disregard the fact that most of this material is shameful plagiarism on their influences, it's actually not very hard to rock along with most songs on the album. The production is good overall with a pretty good sound that succeed in enhancing the identity in the different songs quite well. The sound has a feeling of the 80's over it, but in a more polished set and I have to say I'm a bit surpriced by the fact that Tommy "Johansson" Reinxeed succeed in holding it all together and not jerk it all to pipsqueak by overproducing it and adding strings and orchestration and choirs and a generally flat production because this sounds just the way that this kind of music should sound in 2012.

I better make it clear, though, that you're not getting any inventive ideas from this debut but an album that has taken 90% of their material more or less straight out of their inspiration sources while the other 10% comes from other things already tried and tested. You might say "Caj, an album could actually be good even if the music feels like it has been made before, can't it?" and yes it can! I haven't said it couldn't, but I can't help a slight feeling of discontent approaching me as I listen to this album. I'm fully aware of the fact that it's more or less impossible to do anything radically different in music in this day and age since 99,99999999999 % of every possible combination of putting music together has been tried, so you can't really dismiss a band for not bravely search for that combination the size of a millesimal fraction of a million that still could be defined as innovative and have a similar sound to other bands. But it's a bit too much to go as far as Charlie Shred do in recycling old ideas. The guitar lines are taken directly out of your favorite songs while the melodies and song structures in every single song on this album are recognizable. Even the vocals gives you deja-vu throughout the entire album and the most distinguishing feature from anything else are the lyrics, but I'm not feeling that anything they offer is particularly staggering either. However, it is a bit astonishing that the band isn't trying to at least put a miniature piece of individual touch on the material.

But let's just for a moment try to forget how much the album sounds like anything else and concentrate purely on the music because it is what it is, regardless of what it sounds like. I think the material is at its best around the middle parts of the album, when they sound the most thrash metal and in particular I like the material that sounds really Metallica, which also include the concluding Fall Down at the very end. I also find the very Scanner-sounding Game Over interesting and I think it's clear that if you only judge this from the music without pre-knowledge of anything in this kind of music, you'll find it extremely interesting. If previously released albums didn't affect the judgement, I wouldn't hesitate to even call it top of the line - because it is interesting from the beginning to the end and it's both well played and well made to an impressive extent. Unfortunately, I can't simply "forget" all the music ever made and the fact that we've had plenty of bands in the vein of this the last 30-35 years with many bands writing almost this exact music for the band. Hence, my final judgement is...

… I still recommend this album, regardless of its carbon copy nature, but don't be surprised if there are feelings of discontent creeping upon you after you've played through the album a few times. Not because it's bad, but because you've heard it already and the feeling of getting something new is pretty much impossible. Had I known that the "influences" of this band got some writing credits for the songs, I would probably have felt a little bit better because regardless of everything, it IS a really good album!




Label: Liljegren Records/Doolittle/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Metallica/Enforcer/Rage
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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