SPEEDY GONZALES – Electric Stalker

SPEEDY GONZALES - Electric Stalker


AOR Heaven
Release date: January 20, 2006

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Electric Stalker, Speedy Gonzales’ first album, was meant to be out fifteen years ago. However, disputes within the group broke them up and ended Speedy Gonzales’ career at an early juncture. This happened despite the fact they had created quite a buzz in their home country of Sweden, where the press and public were discussing if Speedy Gonzales would be the next big thing in Melodic Metal.

Now in 2006, Speedy Gonzales’ debut album is at last recorded and released. The band is named after Speedy “The fastest mouse in all Mexico” Gonzales, one of Warner Brothers Loony Tunes cartoons (you know … “Ándale! Ándale! Arriba! Arriba!”). However, last year the two founding members, singer Thomas Vikström and guitarist Tommy Denander, got an offer from AOR Heaven to finally record their old material. Vikström and Denander accepted, and teamed up in the studio with bass player Marcel Jacob (Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen) and drummer Daniel Flores (Mind’s Eye, Xsaviour). Whatever the disputes were in the past, this time around it did not prevent the new lineup from carrying out their ambitions.

Electric Stalker is rich on variation. This is both the album’s strong and weak side. Especially the latter … what can you say about a Metal album when one song reminds you of Judas Priest, and the next one Warrant? Main songwriter Denander & Co. take you along a ride where the landscape you’re in constantly changes. It gets confusing.

The guys sure know how to play, though. Denander is quite a guitarist, and certainly deserves some of the spotlight. There’s no wonder why these guys wanted to bring in a rhythm section and finally show off what they’ve got. No wonder. On the other side, what the record company plans to get out of this is rather hard to tell. Will there be enough melancholic Swedes who remember Speedy Gonzales’ fifteen minutes of fame fifteen years back to make the release worthwhile financially? Outside Sweden, it’s hard to believe the band will be able to break a lot of new ground.

Electric Stalker is very 80’s/early 90’s-ish. There’s old school Ratt, Winger, Stryper, TNT, Bullet Boys, Helloween, and Judas Priest, to mention a few, and the album reminds of both the good and bad moments of these bands’ golden days. The opener, “Flash Of The Blade,” is a catchy and cool Melodic Metal tune with some crystal clear and edgy guitar work throughout. The next track, “Desires Of The Flesh,” is also a good example of a solid offering from the genre -– dynamic and big.

Then things go downhill a bit. The title track is a Judas Priest/King Diamond effort that just doesn’t sound … real. It’s theatrical and over pretentious, close to parodic. Then the two following tracks (“Do You Know Where The Kids Go?” and “Free Like An Eagle”) are AOR and as outdated as it gets; two mid-tempo Rock songs you’ve heard a billion times before. But, it doesn’t get awful until “Men With Medals” hits you halfway through the album, an absolutely horrible power ballad. Piano and violins? You bet (… all very synth, though). Then, no mercy, Speedy Gonzales once again takes you right back to Judas Priest inspired Metal (“Dominator”).

Further on there is even more AOR that won’t break any new ground at all. However, the last three tracks bring the album to a respectable, if not very memorable, end. “Shock The Nation” is a good Mood Metal tune with a good chorus. “Trial By Fire” is a groovy Metal piece; easily forgettable, but fun while it lasts. The last one, “Lust And Desire,” ends the album like it started: fast, heavy, and catchy.

Despite ‘s several good moments, this is probably not an album that would earn a whole lot of interest, unfortunately. The fact that the cover artwork is beyond ugliness will also not help to gain any positive attention. However, those who witnessed Speedy Gonzales’ attempt on taking on the world one and a half decades back sure should, out of plain melancholy, know their best, and give this album a chance.


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