Liljegren Records/Doolittle Group (2012)
Three of the members of this Swedish melodic power metal band also have involvement with ReinXeed- guitarists Calle Sundberg and Mattias Johansson plus drummer/keyboards Tommy ReinXeed. Filling out the lineup with bassist Johan Tranborg, Charlie Shred aim to release an album not focused solely on up tempo insanity but more versatility. Calle handles the vocals, and his register is natural high but with a cleaner James Hetfield force to it.
“Panic” is more a straightforward Iron Savior/Gamma Ray-like traditional oriented number, Mattias accents his leads with minor squeals and quick hitting licks. The follow up “Death Comes To All” contains the right guitar/keyboard mix along with vocal harmonies that should appeal to long time Sabaton followers. The swirling drum effects during the first few moments of “Tainted Inside” give the song an older feel, and the verse/ melody line from Calle reinforces his love for James Hetfield in the 80’s - minus the grit of course as the vocals are much smoother to fit the power metal structures.
The exotic guitar riff chase sequence that represents the centerpiece of “The Ancestors Guide” instrumental evokes the Iron Maiden card, preparing the listener for the heads down, speed number “Game Over” that brings a little smirk to my face with its old arcade sound effects sprinkled in with the shouting chorus and “Whiplash” style drumming from Tommy. A major bone of contention for some people will be the compressed mastering job that flat lines a lot of the heavier tones in the guitar department- most evident on the closing “Fall Down”.
Musically Charlie Shred offer a lot of hope because they aren’t stuck in the bullet train, bowl you over mentality that plagues many power metal acts. As such, one to watch for… if only they could come up with a better band name, as many will not take the quartet seriously otherwise.
Rating: 3.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe