Release date: October 29, 2006

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Swedish Rockers Baltimoore surely cannot be accused of resting on their laurels as of late. Not only is X their second release of 2006, following the release of Kaleidoscope in the spring, it’s also their third release in about an 18-month period, seeing as Fanatical came out last year. Surely brings to mind the work ethic bands used to have years ago. Comparably, the world has been graced with the same amount of studio albums from AC/DC over a 16-year period! No, that’s not really criticizing AC/DC as such, just comparing extremes for the fun of it.

X is Baltimoore’s tenth album, counting a Best Of and the covers album Ultimate Tribute a few years back. Not only does Baltimoore remind of 1970s with their active (not to mention hectic) album writing schedule, but also where they stand musically. The five-some clearly are influenced by the 70s, producing often Bluesy, Hard Rock. Coupled with modern production values and good songs in general, the outcome is a pleasant listening experience.

The musical outcome is also natural, taking into account members past résumés, as they’ve worked with several artists who were just as influenced by 70s Hard Rock, or even part of it themselves. Drummer Hempo Hildén has a past with Europe guitarist John Norum’s solo endeavors, as well as with vocalist Don Dokken, while returning lead guitarist Thomas Larsson used to play in singer Glenn Hughes’ (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Iommi) band. Completing the band is bassist Weine Johansson, rhythm guitarist Mankan Sedenberg, and the leader, vocalist Björn Lodin, who also handled production on X. Furthermore, X, just like Kaleidoscope, is being released on Lodin’s own label, BLP Music.

Overall, the direction seems even more Melodic and perhaps laid-back this time around, as the Blues influences become more prominent than was the case on Kaleidoscope. The song’s, penned by Lodin, showcase cohesiveness all around.

First out is the disgustingly titled “Cumgum,” a relaxed affair complete with a smooth chorus, which shows off Lodin’s voice very well. “Tables Turn” is heavier, with well-layered, thick bass parts and lead guitars spread throughout. Most probably can relate to the sentiment of “Life,” with lines such as “Life sucks the life out of me,” and “I’m a clown in jeopardy,” and can do so without depression looming. The matters of trust are discussed in “Something Going On.” “Asshole” may be the “angrier” track, or at least so in this setting, as all-out aggression evidently is far from being a part of Baltimoore’s nature. The Blues influences probably reach it’s height on “2&2.” “Play On” leads on with a gritty groove, while “Make It Through” has some slight Thin Lizzy leanings as far as the guitar melodies are concerned.

The most wonderful thing about Baltimoore is that they, band name aside, sound so Swedish, and they do so in such a refreshingly timeless way. Not Americans, the British, Germans, nor anyone else for that matter, could sound like Baltimoore. That’s not being disrespectful on any part, it’s just that Swedes have a certain way of performing this Bluesy sort of Hard Rock, which despite obvious influences like Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Rainbow, AC/DC and the likes from abroad, seems unique for them and makes them stand out slightly against their worldwide counterparts. It’s a sound that presumably comes out natural and not at all contrived.

Enjoy with a nice cold one — before taking on the town.


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