When they first arrived on the music scene, almost every review compared Hardcore Superstars to their fellow countrymen The Backyard Babies, both in sound and in looks. I could hear it slightly on the early releases, but eventually the Superstars and the Babies would become only connected by the country that they hailed.
The first few albums were roaring Glam/Punk albums full of energy. But they eventually started to give way to a more Glam style. The Babies took this similar approach, but the sounds still were nowhere near similar. For me though, the Babies sounded tired, bored, and lost. The Superstars though just kept getting stronger and stronger.
The last album No Regrets was a piece of 70s Glam and Arena Rock of absolute perfection. Hooks that would make Cheap Trick jealous, and choruses that make you think of driving down the road in a convertible in the summertime. It was a brilliant release that gets a ton of play on my stereo.
So then they vanished, many thought that they were possibly breaking up. But in reality, they were just taking a breather, and have come storming back with a release that make one think of the earlier material, and also makes one think of the Sunset Strip circa 1987.
The self-titled release is basically a no-holds barred album all about RnR, sex, booze, and living your own damn way. Loud guitars, loud drums, and a voice being shredded of all its smoothness.
The album starts out with a keyboard, reminding me of some obscure Prog Rock band getting ready to tell me a tale about spaceships. Then we get our guitars and drums kicking in a slow chord progression. You just know that they are opening shows with this thing. Then Kick On The Upperclass rolls in, sounding for all the world like Beautiful Creatures. Every aspect of the song is strong and its a perfect opener.
Bag On Your Head starts and you pretty much by now know what you are getting for the full duration. Its a chugging, pounding number with shouting vocals and choruses.
Song 3, Last Forever, may as well be Faster Pussycat. The vocals sound like Taime, and the words are even pronounced as Taime would have once upon a glorious time. Musically it also walks a line along those of Faster from the first album, until we get to the chorus.
Through out the whole album you start to realize that any Punk influence that these guys may have had has been completely taken over by the Glam/Hair Metal scene from circa 1987-1991. At times you hear the Pussycat, but more times than not you experience Britny Fox, Skid Row (musically this is along those lines forged on Slave To The Grind) and Second Coming era Shotgun Messiah. Song 5 is especially Shotgun like on its opening riff. Fast pounding drums, chugging guitar chords, grooving notes, intermittent clean guitars with tons of chorus, and layered choruses.
It isnt until the song locked in at 8, My Good Reputation comes along that they start to resemble the band that turned out No Regrets. The verses are typical from that album, but the music is fitting with the Sleaze stylings that we have for the rest of this thing.
The album as a whole is very impressive, but it isnt exactly what I was hoping for out of the band. It really is a bit of a big tip of the hat to all the eras of Glam, but with a big nod towards the time period that I mentioned. Hardcore Superstars continue to change with each album but always maintain a certain sound that is all them.
If you didnt like the last album due to its lack of guts, then there is a pretty dang good chance this will be just what you are looking for. Just remember to check the Punk at the door, and go looking for some late 80s/early 90s stylings, and you will be thrilled!
by Carl I. (Be sure to check out Sonic Ruin, the direct link to this review is via HERE)
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