CD Reviews

Renegade Five - 'Undergrounded Universe' Hot

Added by James Gaden     March 17, 2010    
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Debut album from Swedish five piece.


Renegade Five are a five piece band from Karlstad in Sweden and ‘Undergrounded Universe’ is their debut full length release. “Never judge a book by it’s cover” is an observation that fits this album perfectly as the picture of the band adorning the CD booklet would seem to suggest a youthful band plying a pop music trade. Though we’re not in Metallica territory here the pop music allegory certainly doesn’t apply and I was pleasantly surprised after playing the album through for the first time. The quality is unquestionable and this opinion has only been compounded after further spins.

The blend of Finnish attitude and stylings coupled with a sense of commerciality synonymous with everything Swedish has resulted in a highly addictive CD that is still giving me constant pleasure despite it’s unoriginal structure and conventional approach. Sweeping orchestral atmospherics punctured by crunching riffs and powerful rhythms generates a Rasmus/Within Temptation hybrid and 4 or 5 tracks into ‘Undergrounded Universe’ these comparisons become even more apparent. ‘Darkest Age’ could have come from any of the last few Rasmus albums whilst ‘Shadows’ has a melody line resembling ‘Stand My Ground’ from Within Temptation’s ‘The Silent Force’ opus. Layers of keyboards and a purposeful use of strings, complimented by occasionally intense guitar passages, embellish the epic qualities and add to the WT comparisons despite the obvious budgetary constraints.

The album has a nice pacing and balances the more urgent tracks intelligently with those of a more reflective nature. ‘Love Will Remain’ is imbued with an almost down-beat sense of melancholy but sits nicely next to the more authoritative exuberance of ‘Stand For Your Rights’. Hardly the most enigmatic of singers, Per Nylin moulds his voice to the material with considerable ease and at times his breathy delivery becomes quite hypnotic. Most of the songs avoid an urgent sonic assault, the subtle melodies infused with a Gothic undercurrent allowing them to slowly become embedded in the subconscious. ‘Seven Days’ contains a refrain of instant appeal whilst ‘Too Far Away’ marries guitars and keys in Within Temptation style again though the semi-acoustic verse qualifies as a thoughtful variation.

Though the guitars tend to be a little low in the mix, keyboards dominating at times and one or two tracks tend to have that ‘samey’ feel, the overiding quality still remains of a high standard. ‘Set My Heart On Fire’ closes the album strongly with another infectious hook and an engaging song structure then before you know it you’re hitting repeat and the auditory delights begin again.

Dave Bott


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