originally posted on Saturday, 8 February 2014
It’s very obvious, after listening to the band Skrou, how much influence the band takes from the 80’s. A time when rock songs were big and hair metal reigned supreme. Before grunge came and changed music (you can argue for better or worse, but that isn’t the point of this article) it was more common for rock bands to have fun and sound like they were having fun. It kind of trailed into pop metal, or glam metal, with acts like Autograph or Vixen adding in a lot of keyboards to their already pop-oriented rock hooks. Before this, though, with bands like Ratt in their earliest days andMötley Crüe, to name a few, recorded a lot of songs, though most were centred on partying and sex, which would eventually become a complete cliché. Despite the lyrics, the songs were always big; I mean layered guitars, over emphasized drums: big. And I feel this is all what Skrou are trying to encompass.
I’m not going to use the term “hair metal” though. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with the subgenre, but the term “hair metal” derives a certain shtick that Skrou doesn’t have in their sound. They keep their sound more hard rock than anything. The song that starts off their self titled album shows just that. Said opening track, Place to Shake, starts off in an almost AC/DC way in its sound, and its constant usage of roughly the same chord during the verses. While I do enjoy the chorus, the song itself doesn’t really strike any nerves with its very simple and slow drum beat. When I hear songs like this, I can’t help but hear how hard the band tried to get a classic rock sound only to lose its listener halfway though. I’d urge any listener to give the album a second chance though, as this song is by far the weakest tune on the album. I like to think of it as a distraction to fool listeners to think that it’s the best they’re going to get.
The albums second track, Dirty Little Fantasy, starts off with a much better guitar riff, and already sounds more enthusiastic than the opening track. Even with the singing starts, you can already hear the hooks that Place to Shake lacked. This song sounds much more natural and less forced, as does the following track, the bass driven, dark sounding Cold Heart. Of course any good album of this kind needs a ballad;Awake In The Sun is just that. Acoustic guitars and background keyboards further differentiate this song from the previous tracks on the album.
The rest of the album is all hard rock.On The Streets, and true to its title, it has a good street feel to it. Eye Catcher is a very well composed piece; both its 57 second intro and the actual song itself. It is a good fast paced classic metal sounding song. It shows a drive in the band that they haven’t shown yet on the album. No One’s Home brings back the dark street vibe that On The Streets provides and Rock It Away brings back the partying good time sound of the album’s earlier tracks. Rock the Wild is a slow rocker, but not a ballad like Awake In The Sun. It provides one last sense of the bands writing capabilities.
The album ends with Ride On. This track is one last partying good time, in fact it’s the fastest paced song the album. I can’t think of a better way to end the album, bringing it full circle with a song that sounds different in many ways from the rest of the album, but at the same time sums up the entire album in a nutshell.
Despite the first track, I’m impressed with the output bySkrou on this self-titled album. It has a lack of originality, but I really don’t think the band minds that. It does have its shortcomings, as does every album, for instance singer Sam Kirou attempts a nice loud scream in just about every song. The problem is that he only hits the proper note in about half of the songs. Aside from that his voice fits the 80’s hard rock sound that the band does a rather good job at playing.
“Cold Heart” – Unfortunately there is no video to provide, so you’ll have to rely on getting the album to hear it, but it is Cold Heart that completely sold me on the album. It showed me that the band could rock hard but also encompass a real good melodic element that every good song should have.
7.5 (Out of 10)
|Place to Shake||5:29|
|Dirty Little Fantasy||5:03|
|Awake In The Sun||3:58|
|On The Streets||3:45|
|Eve Catcher (intro)||0:57|
|No One’s Home||4:43|
|Rock It Away||4:10|
|Rock The Wild||3:52|