MTM Music 681-25
Prod. by: M. Kronlund & S. Egeman

Released: OUT
Closest Relative: John Norum
GENRE: Hard Rock

  1. Right Between Your Lies
  2. Don't
  3. I Don't Care
  4. I Will Be There
  5. A Single Reason
  6. Rule The Night
  7. You're Taken Me Down
  8. Let It Out
  9. Spit It Out
  10. Set Me Free
  11. Suicide

I will get straight to the point. This album is sensational. There is not one bad element in this record and not a single filler amongst the albums 11 killer songs.
When I started this site out, European hard rock was being left behind by the major players in the US melodic rock scene and even the European labels were signing mainly American projects.
This has all changed over the past 18 months, to the point where music coming out of such countries as Sweden, Germany, Italy and even the UK giving the yanks a run for their money.
It really has changed my perspective and I now appreciate fine European hard rock more than ever. Not that I didn't before, I just found the essential releases - aside from those by the likes of John Norum, TNT and UFO for example were few and far between.
The year just passed has seen more great releases than ever before and in 2001, it looks to be even better.
The only sad thing is I doubt there could be a better release of this genre, this year, than Dogface.
If you are a fan of European hard rock, with it's bass heavy riff's and darker sound, and if you own any Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Europe or any previous Mats Levin release, then Dogface demands buying.
The band is born out of guitarist and song writer Martin Kronlund and his band, who have enrolled the immense vocal talent of Mats Levin to round out the band.
Mats has previously featured as the vocalist in Yngwie's band and on Pontus Norgren's last solo release, as well as his own bands Southpaw and Treat.
This performance out does all of the above. I haven't heard such a great solid rock performance in years. His trademark snarl and menacing delivery are second to none in this genre. His performance is more menacing than previous albums like Treat and Yngwie, yet smoother than what Pontus Norgren's album and his more alternative Southpaw project called for.
Above Levin's great vocals are some simply top class songwriting and a production quality only normally afforded major label players. The mix of the album is flawless to say the least.
One of the things I really appreciate about Dogface is their mix of tempo and song delivery. What I have found on some Euro rock releases is that every track is flat out from start to finish and every song on the album is similar.
Dogface not only vary the song style across the album, they also move up and down in tempo within a song, and that to me is an example of great songwriting.
Right Between Your Lies opens the album in typical Euro-metal fashion, with the double kick drum hammering flat out, until the verse starts, showing a glimpse of the musical and melody to come. The chorus returns to the heavy and aggressive stance of the intro.
Don't is similarly aggressive and contains a great tempo changing mid-song instrumental break and guitar solo.
I Don't Care is one of the highlights of this or any rock album in the last several years. It's an intense, dark and moody rocker with an aggressive edge, yet a passive and melancholy verse. Not to mention a passionate and edgy vocal.
I Will Be There is one of the heaviest ballads you will hear, filled with plenty of lead breaks, big pleading vocals and a huge Hammond organ filler. It's followed by one of the album's more modern uptempo rockers A Single Reason, which has a cool modern feel to it. Levin's vocals are some of the best of the album here.
Another rocker follows with Rule The Night. This one has another aggressive lead guitar break and another catchy hum-able chorus.
You're Taken Me Down has a real swagger to it. Both with the accompanying Hammond organ and with Levin's rapid vocal delivery.
Let It Out continues the hard rocking, but this time with a bluesier feel.
Spit It Out is slick and fast and heavy, with a guitar sound not unlike Toto's Steve Lukather at his heaviest. It's dark, modern and Levin's vocals are again at his moodiest, most intimidating best. I love it.
Set Me Free is for once more a typical big European hard rock song. The double bass drumming and tempo will be familiar to all fans of the genre.
Suicide ends the track with another big track, with an aggressive tone and subject matter, yet through the brilliance of the songwriting, the chorus is almost a melodic rock anthem! A prime example of what I talk about as far as diversity within individual tracks. Genius songwriting and a fine way to close the album.
BOTTOM LINE: My brief is easy. Buy this album is you have ever bought a European hard rock album and liked it. As far as the genre of European melodic and hard rock goes, this ranks up there amongst the best ever releases. Place it alongside John Norum's first two solo records, TNT's Intuition, Yngwie Malmsteen's Odyssy, Rainbow and Deep Purple's early classics and the best of Schenker and UFO.
I really am seriously blown away by this album. It came from out of nowhere and I pray that it reaches the audience it deserves. A heavy melodic monster.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Every fan of European hard rock and any fan of great aggressive melodic hard rock.

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