September 22, 2014 Crucified Barbara – In The Red (Album review)
They are loud, brash, Swedish, and they are storming the hard rock wing of the heavy metal mansion with brand new studio album In The Red. They are Crucified Barbara, and their first CD for Despotz Records, In The Red comes hot on the heels of their first stateside appearance in 2013. Crucified Barbara began life in Stockholm, Sweden back in 1998. Once they hit their hard rock stride, it would take three albums and a whole lot of touring for the tireless foursome to come this far.
Albums and bands are ultimately judged by the quality of the songs they churn out, not whether the band members pee standing up or sitting down. However, it would be remiss not to mention that Crucified Barbara is one of the more accomplished all female acts currently active in heavy metal. Fronted by the smoky voiced, versatile Mia Coldheart, who also plays a pretty mean guitar, the band is comprised of Klara Force and Ida Evileye on guitar and bass guitar, with the backbeat being provided by the lovely but fierce Nicki Wicked. Together these ladies have indeed turned all the dials into the red. So what kind of album did all their hard work result in?
For fans familiar with their past works, it was apparent that 2012’s The Midnight Chase solidified their songwriting somewhat, resulting in a catchier, harder, more focused affair. Will In The Red sharpen their attack even further? Beginning with “I Sell My Kids For Rock-n-roll,” Crucified Barbara goes full throttle from the get-go. A quick wash of feedback and they are off, an excellent lead launching us into a brash, arrogant anthem prioritizing the rock-n-roll lifestyle over anything society might suggest they should be doing. First single “‘To Kill A Man” has an almost safe quality to it, despite the fun-yet-morbid lyrical content. If that makes one concerned that there might be a more polished, poppy direction taking shape, the ladies put that thought to bed with the catchy “Electric Sky.” Coldheart’s voice sounds equally at home in her street-meets-glam lower register as it does when she really belts it out. “The Ghost Inside” showcases some of Evileye’s best bass lines, as it also shows that Crucified Barbara is mastering the infectious, punk-spattered rock sounds rarely seen in these slick, trendy flavor-of-the-month times we live in. You can feel the burning flame of this band in the great leads filtered in and around that oh so catchy chorus. It’s definitely an album highlight.
The rest of the record keeps up the fine form of the first half. “Don’t Call On Me” pounds out the rhythms, while the title track showcases the more punk, harder edge the band possesses. Last song “Follow the Stream” is an excellent final fist in the face of conformity and sheep mentality. All in all, there are not too many hills and valleys on In The Red, just straight-ahead, no nonsense rock-n-roll with an edge. Crucified Barbara recalls the days of Guns N’ Roses, Girlschool, vintage Mötorhead, Mötley Crüe, and a touch of classic punk without merely aping these acts. There is enough attitude, balls, and skill on In The Red to satisfy even the most jaded heavy metal enthusiasts out there. Crucified Barbara, thanks in part to an ass-kicker of a new album, appears headed for some well-deserved success. Do not miss out. CrypticRock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.