It’s an easy assumption to make that Arctic Rain’s debut album will make my top 10 albums of the year, take it as a given.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Arctic Rain
ALBUM: The One
SERIAL: FRCD 1055
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Tobias Jonsson – vocals * Magnus Berglund – guitars * Pete Alpenborg – keyboards * Gert Daun – bass * Jonas Jonsson – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Breakout * 02 Free My Mind * 03 Friends * 04 Give Me All Of Your Love * 05 Lift Me Up * 06 Lost * 07 Love Of My Life * 08 The One * 09 Madeleine * 10 Night After Night * 11 Take Me To Your Heart
WEBLINKS: FB Page
It’s taken me awhile to get to this review of Arctic Rain. ‘The One’ was released on August 7th 2020 so its taken me over two months to get to it but I’m glad I took my time because I’ve played this thing back to front – front to back looking for any sign of weakness and to be honest, I haven’t found any. That’s how good it is.
Not much is known about Arctic Rain’s pre-history, however they submitted a demo to a few select record labels in 2018, at the top of the pile was Frontiers Records who in their wisdom signed up the band before anybody else could. The result is ‘The One’ released two years later.
On the songwriting front, keyboardist Pete Alpenborg is a name that has graced the credits of several melodic rock artists prior to this. These include: Issa, All 41, Kee Of Hearts, Gioeli/Castronovo, Toby Hitchcock, Sunstorm, Groundbreaker, Moonland and Revolution Saints. Reputable company indeed.
As for the musicianship, this is first-class playing. Great singing and OTT guitar playing. Listening to Arctic Rain outdoes the likes of their nearest rivals Perfect Plan with ease.
It’s a bombastic start with ‘Breakout’ leading the way. Strong vocals from Tobias Jonsson with riff master Magnus Berglund providing stellar six-string support. AR delivers near-perfect melodic rock on ‘Free My Mind’, truly an exquisite tune with a guitar solo to die for.
The pairing of ‘Friends’ and ‘Give Me All Of Your Love’ have a high dosage of sunlight shone on them especially when you listen to those gorgeous choruses. ‘Lift Me Up’ operates in the same territory as fellow Scandi outfits including One Desire and Creye, but sound like the real deal.
Viewing the video of the album’s best track ‘Lost’, it’s obvious the musicianship is quality. Check out the mind-numbing guitar solo for evidence, in amongst the catchy chorus and other highlights. Also check out the John Sykes like guitar work on ‘Love Of My Life’ at the start, the power vocals of Jonsson and the frilly synths of Alpenborg. Melodic rock looks like it’s in good shape with these blokes.
The change-up moment is the title track ‘The One’. It’s relatively mild compared to what’s gone before. Not quite a power-ballad nor an out-and-out rocker either. I enjoyed the melodic 80’s sounding romp of ‘Madeleine’, a track that resurrects the big hair metal scene of 1988 like it was yesterday.
Two tracks to go; ‘Night After Night’ is perhaps the most generic track here, still good but missing a bit of AR’s unique identity. In any event, they finish up with another album highlight ‘Take Me To Your Heart’. This one has an element of urgency in the delivery and rolls along like a well-oiled machine. Perfect.
It’s an easy assumption to make that Arctic Rain’s debut album will make my top 10 albums of the year. Take it as a given. Nothing more needs to be said. If it’s hard-edged melodic rock you’re after, then take a listen. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Love Of My Life