Fireworks

Casablanca - 'Miskatonic Graffiti' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/81/d2/76/Casablanca-Miskatonic-Graffiti-81-1448913273.jpg Hot

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Put the effort in and my goodness, it'll pay dividends. Enthralling!

Most regard the second album of a band's discography as the most difficult to produce; however, there are those who would disagree and say it's the third. If that is indeed the case, then it must have taken a courageous decision from Sweden's Casablanca to make their third opus a concept album...and a complex one at that. It follows 'Apocalyptic Youth' (2012) and 'Riding A Black Swan' (2013), but thankfully the music remains fundamentally true to their Classic/Hard Rock past and isn't the intricate Prog that the 'Miskatonic Graffiti' storyline would suggest.

Based around H.P. Lovecraft's Chuthulu mythology (I dare you to read up on it!), it follows the fight for survival of The Originals (the first humans?) against The Old Ones (aliens?) in the town named The Mountains, a gateway to parallel dimensions. Rather than compile a PhD thesis I shall simply quote from the promotional blurb, and state the album "... is a record about individuality and collectivity, two equally important quantities, which must exist in harmony if humans are to stand a chance". It all sounds rather convoluted and ostentatious, and in some respects it is; but if the music is of good quality do we need to get weighed down with the whys and wherefores?

Anders Ljung (vocals), Ryan Roxie (guitar), Erik Almstrom (guitar), Erik Stenemo (guitar), Mats Rubarth (bass) and Josephine Forsman (drums) have understandably combined their talents, inspirations and creative juices to produce this smorgasbord of styles, rhythms and tempos, and utmost acclaim should be paid to them.

'Miskatonic Graffiti' is topped and tailed by two epics – 'Enter/Exit The Mountains'. 'Enter ...' commences in true Lovecraft fashion; a Hammer House Of Horrors build-up that evolves into an emotional guitar-driven Rocker. It appears that the Holy Trinity of Classic Rock – Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath – have been utilised as the sturdy foundations from which to construct the entire soundscape.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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However, innumerable other influences are audible throughout; the barnstorming 'Closer', the heavy mid-tempo 'My Shadow Out Of Time' and the excellent 'RE: Old Money' all have a Psychedelic aura about them, especially in the vocal delivery, when Ljung switches from his Jeff Keith (Tesla)/Steve Tyler (Aerosmith) characteristics to those of the great Jim Morrison (The Doors).

It's no surprise that Roxie is one of the mainstays of Casablanca, as his Alice Cooper affiliation is also represented throughout, especially regarding the theatricality of the album (this begs to be played live in its entirety). 'This Is Tomorrow' with its Funky backbeat and the manic 'Name Rank Serial Killer' are also worth a mention.

'Miskatonic Graffitti' is no quick fix, that's for certain. But put the effort in and my goodness, it'll pay dividends. Enthralling!

Dave Crompton

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