Crashdïet – Automaton (Album Review)

Crashdïet – Automaton (Album Review)

Glam Metal is back and it is just as rich and noisy as it was in the ’80s. Swedish Glam Metal mavens, Crashdïet are back with their sixth studio album, Automaton.

The self-proclaimed “sleaze” rockers have been delivering their brand of modern Glam Metal and sleaze ever since their debut album aptly named Rest In Sleaze. Known for bringing the nostalgia of 80s Hair Metal peppered with nuances of 90s and 2000s hard rock, this Swedish outfit has been like a Timex- they take lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Despite several tragic losses from their first vocalist to their tour manager, coupled with various other line-up changes, they continue to come back again and again. Now on their second album with their latest frontman, Crashdïet is Gabriel Keyes (vocals), Martin Sweet (guitars, vocals), Peter London (bass, vocals), and Eric Young (drums, vocals). 

Release on April 29, 2022 through Crusader/ Golden Robot Records, Automaton really kicks in with the high-energy and snappy “Together Whatever” with its prominent percussion and singing strings paired against Keyes’s gritty vocals. The combination here is a good one to get the blood pumping with many of the elements of Classic Rock anthems that compel the listener to sing along. “Shine On” follows even more in this vein with its heavy bass and sharp chords that harken to mind Def Leppard and old Guns n Roses While this song doesn’t share all the hallmarks of GNR, the influence feels present in the heady falsetto notes Keyes dips into bringing to mind Axel Rose a la “Welcome To The Jungle.” The best thing about this track is its heavy emphasis on the anthemic qualities with its charging chords and rollicking drums with the call and response background vocals urging listeners on. 

Then “No Man’s Land” brings a smoother and cooler tone at the onset that evolves into a more upturned tempo while maintaining its smoothness. This is while “Darker Minds” is Crashdïet’s play at a power ballad that falls a bit short of the emotional impact most others of the same category seem to hit. Whether it is the lack of lyrical evocation or the tempo barely turning down much from its predecessors on the album, something about “Darker Minds” just misses the mark of being poignant enough to stir any real feelings. Thereafter “Powerline” is an interesting track featuring the guest vocals of Michael Starr from Steel Panther. This track feels like one of the purest Sleaze and Glam Metal songs on the record. The incorporation of Starr’s vocals adds a nice contrast to Keyes and the string work of Sweet really gets a chance to shine in various moments throughout. It has the heavy 80s Metal undercurrent that sweeps the listener from one end to the other effortlessly while still managing to be glossy. 

“Resurrection of the Damned” continues this vibe with its clean strings and echoic background vocals that work to bolster the ambiance of the song. The  mashup of Sweet and London really makes this track a standout in orchestration like “Powerline.” The composition is such that just as you start getting into it the journey’s over and “We Die Hard” is kicking in. Here is a bouncy Classic Rock anthem. This track differs from others in just how clean it comes across. It is among the smoothest songs on the album and there is something about this cleanliness that feels counterintuitive to the ‘sleaze’ image and perception. However, it does make it an easy listen, even if not particularly raucous or compelling. 

Nearing the end of the album is “Unbroken” where the bass and snare come out to play. Not to be outdone, Sweet’s string work blaze and cut like glass through this track. Here it is just as much about the guitar as it is about the vocals and they definitely have their moment. Honestly, this is the one track where the band possibly outperforms Keyes’s vocals. The composition is dynamic and intriguing to the ear to the point where it becomes more interesting to listen for where they’ll go next than to internalize the lyrics. This is not to say that the vocals or lyrics are sub-par- they aren’t- but just aren’t the most interesting thing about this track.

Closing things out is “I Can’t Move On (Without You)” the second ballad on the record wherein Keyes dips into notes of an almost Country twang at times. Here listeners are given a softer approach to a ballad with acoustic strings and an all-around soft approach that deviates significantly from the band’s usual ‘sleaze’ or ‘glam.’ This song is thoroughly unglamorous, but that seems to be the intention, as a bit of a palate cleanser to wrap things up that erupts back into electric instrumentation at the home stretch. It’s more emotional than “Darker Minds” and therefore exponentially more effective in its intent and execution. 

The album as a whole dips and ebbs from Hair and Glam Metal to more Pop with just enough diversity to keep it somewhat interesting. Good energy, decent lyrics, and an all-around good vibe. It is not the most revolutionary Glam-Sleaze record, but it nails its target demographic well enough that fans will be excited to put it on rotation and newcomers will find it interesting enough to maybe check out the rest of the catalog. Crashdïet knows their fans and what they love. This album is one that is bound to be a fan favorite for its orchestration and composition. Although it doesn’t break any new ground, it makes for an easy listen. So, for doing what they’ve come to be known for and delivering an easy, reliable Glam Metal record, Cryptic Rock gives Crashdïet’s Automaton 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Patricia Jones
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Patricia is in a relationship with music. Her tastes run the gamut of Madonna to Mastodon, but her soul belongs to Rock n Roll. While pursuing her Bachelor’s in Communications and Journalism at USC Upstate, she worked behind the scenes in venues and has since scribed for Examiner.com, The Front Row Report, as well as AXS.com. Music is her drug of choice and considers herself “just another nightlife junkie high on Metal.”

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