The illustrious Swedish rockers Fatal Smile are back with their fourth full length album 21st Century Freaks. Fatal Smile’s history is virtually a tale of two bands, as their first two albums were very traditional Classic Hard Rock endeavors with loads of heavy and melodic songs. Following a complete band overhaul in 2007, their two most recent albums have a raucous and wild ‘80’s Hair Metal vibe consistent with that of Mötley Crüe and W.A.S.P.. Needless to say, the modern day version of Fatal Smile seem to have all the elements which create a pleasurable and exciting Metal album that appeals to a multi-genre fan base.
Fatal Smile’s founder, and only remaining original member, is guitarist Mr. Y; who is also the brainchild for the band. His unmistakable energetic guitar riffs define their sound. Mr. Y’s style is simply defined and outrageous, no frills, and ballsy. There isn’t anything intricate, technical, or complex about his playing; it is just classic, simple and loud riffs. Once again to make a Mötley Crüe comparison, it is quite similar to Mick Mars' defining sound that single handedly guided them to great success.
The other key factor to 21st Century Freaks is the vocal styling of lead singer Blade. He provides an intriguing theatrical performance on stage, while performing his signature abrasive and emotive vocals. Blade's style is somewhat of a mix between David Lee Roth and Jesse James Dupree. It’s filled with tons of energy and emotion, and just like the guitars, it’s not very technical; just simple and loud. There is one track however in which Blade expands the horizons of his vocals to a highly expressive level. “For The Last In Line” is a tribute to Ronnie James Dio and arguably the best vocal performance on the album as Blade portrays all the poignant emotion required to make this a strong composition.
21st Century Freaks is essentially a continuation of their 2008 release World Domination which catapulted their career. Now with an added costume and imagery along full makeup and regalia makes them a highly marketable presence. Regarding the overall sound of the album, it’s packed full of energetic melodies. Some of the more noteworthy tracks are the opening “Welcome To The Freakshow” is reminiscent of a classic Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper type of song with a big effectual chorus line. Additionally, the songs “Broken Heart” and “Scarecrow” are emotional, mid-tempo tracks, displaying a stimulating Jorn Lande quality to them.
As a whole 21st Century Freaks is a powerful album and incorporates many different Classic Metal styles to produce a very capable production. All the elements blend extremely well to make the album a fun and memorable listen. This is certainly Fatal Smile’s finest effort, and hopefully they will continue to grow and expand on a fantastic formula.
Official Fatal Smile Website