There’s a certain exhilarating buzz you get when you listen to a new album by a band you’re already a fan of, and realize as you’re listening that they’ve taken their already considerable skills to a whole other level. That’s exactly the kind of buzz I get from “In The Red”, the fourth album by Sweden’s relentlessly hard-rocking Crucified Barbara.
Heavier, harder, catchier, hookier… more everything. This is Crucified Barbara in full and fearless flight, holding nothing back, delivering 11 blazing hot tunes roaring with lust and desire, anger and defiance, pain and power.
The band is wielding so much hard-rocking energy, and each track is charged with so much emotional intensity (in both the music and lyrics) that the whole album seems to crackle like lightning. Mia Coldheart’s vocals are a thing of brawn and beauty throughout – keeping her signature growl and snarl, but with an added vulnerability and soul that cuts to the bone. Both Coldheart and Klara Force also deliver what is surely their best guitar-work ever, with standout moments on each and every track. Backed up by Ida Evileye’s hot and heavy bass, and Nicki Wicked’s high-powered drums, the band has never sounded tighter or better.
“In The Red” kicks off with “I Sell My Kids For Rock’N’Roll” – a fist-pumping, head-banging “screw-the-haters” anthem with a mocking Coldheart singing: “You sound good for being a girl”, “I can’t hear you, I’m sorry we’re playing too loud”. It’s followed by the passionate “To Kill a Man” – a furious protest against rape and violence against women. The message is delivered with heart rendering vocals by Coldheart, the bass and drums giving the tune a dark undertow, the guitar work brilliant without being self-indulgent.
Next up is the hellishly hooky “Electric Sky” – a track that should be a monster hit for Crucified Barbara if there’s any justice in the world. The guitar and bass that set it off are awesome, all swing and groove, and the tune rocks hard but with a beat that makes you want to dance your ass off.
Starting off with a gloriously fuzzy riff, “The Ghost Inside” soon revs up into a fast, irresistible melody; while “Don’t Call On Me” is a punk-rock-spiked demon of a tune and another one of my favourites. Coldheart’s voice is a force of nature here, and the band is just on fire. Fabulous title track “In The Red” cranks it up a notch, speeding down the highway to hell with lyrics that snarl and growl and claw at you.
The band keeps it in high gear with the fiery “Lunatic #1”, and then launch into “Shadows” – a track about depression and darkness and longing for the light. “Shadows” flexes a seductive eastern twang beneath its heavy rocking skin, and the band’s bone-rattling barrage gets me right in the good parts. Anger flashes through the groove on “Finders Keepers”, and the chorus will make you want to sing along whether you know how to sing or not.
Crucified Barbara then rips into one of the album’s best tracks, the fiendishly brash and sexy “Do You Want Me”. Coldheart’s voice here is both a come-on and a challenge: “I can never be your sacred angel / Do you want me?” Final track “Follow The Stream” slams the pedal to the metal, the lyrics evoking a slaughterhouse horror of screams and bloody walls, and the band delivering the rock’n’roll goods right to the end.
“In The Red” blows me away. There’s a breathtaking feeling of freedom and power and pure, raw energy here that is electrifying. Crucified Barbara is burning hotter, cutting deeper, and rocking harder than ever, while making you want to dance and sing along at the same time.
If you’re already a fan, this album is obviously a must. If you’re not yet a fan: check out “In The Red” ASAP. This is a band at the top of its game, and this album is one heck of a beautiful beast.
“In The Red” is set for release September 10, 2014, on the band’s new label Despotz Records. It is available for pre-order at Crucified Barbara’s web-shop.
- Mia Coldheart – Vocals, guitar
- Ida Evileye – Bass
- Klara Force – Guitar, backing vocals
- Nicki Wicked – Drums, backing vocals
- I Sell My Kids for Rock’N’Roll
- To Kill a Man
- Electric Sky
- The Ghost Inside
- Don’t Call On Me
- In The Red
- Lunatic #1
- Finders Keepers
- Do You Want Me
- Follow The Stream