Pillars of Madness (2021 by Jan Ivar Høgrud - "Off the Record" Radio Modum)
Taking Back October is a rock band that never ceases to surprise and impress. When you think you have managed to place these guys in a box, you have to think again, because this is a band that loves challenges and takes them in stride. Taking Back October is also a band that thrives best when they get to test their musical limits that they are constantly moving on. Since the start in 2019, they have been very productive and delivered several strong and fantastic contributions that promote Norwegian rock. Just listen to songs like Kingsman Call, Sycamore, See It Through, The Power Inside and not least the beautiful ballad High Road and Writing's On The Wall (where the guys flirted with punk rock in the best Ramones style), and you will quickly understand what I also believe that this band is one of the country's foremost exponents of hard rock.
With the new song Pillars Of Madness, they bring the sound of Heavy Metal back fully with a song that sends thoughts to bands like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Iron Maiden. This is a song that will shake the foundations of the thousands of homes and guaranteed to bring headbanging back in earnest.
When I heard the song for the first time, I was almost struck by the metal riff of Svein Ove Netland where it literally sends sparks from the strings which brings back life to an old hard rock heart. This is truly a guitar race from beginning to end with a magical guitar solo of a completely different world that just has to be heard.
The rhythm section is heavy and delicious where Jan Cato Traa hammers loose on the drums in intense interaction with some wonderful bass lines from Paul Ueland that are felt far down the spine. Fredrik Kverneland's playfulness on the keys testifies to instrumental skills at a sky-high level where he throws wonderful and powerful tones into the air that make the neck hair stand up. It is inevitable that you draw comparisons to people like Jon Lord and Don Airey. Lars Martin Aasgård proves once again what a fantastic frontman he is where he throws himself into the song with powerful rawness, tons of energy and gutsy vocals and it sounds so damn good. There is no doubt that Lars Martin has some strong lungs and you can not help but be impressed.
Pillars Of Madness is raw and powerful and charged with as much electric power as a lightning strike, but the melodic tones are also well rooted in the song. This is rock on high octane and as an old heavy rocker I have to admit that I get a little stiff neck muscles from nodding but I accept every note with zeal and joy, because this is just so steak tough and insanely good. It is also so wonderful to know that rock lives so to a very high degree in our elongated country and it only grows stronger and stronger. So my recommendation is to download Pillars Of Madness, turn up the volume and let your internal rocker loose to this solid and great rock song.
The Power Inside (2021 by Jan Ivar Høgrud - "Off the Record" Radio Modum)
"The Power Inside is a song where you can draw similarities to good old Simple Minds which starts with this wonderful guitar riff by Svein Ove Netland which is so powerful and delicious that you are just drawn into the song immediately. He delivers some absolutely exquisite solo parts where the strings almost catch fire. Lars Martin Aasgård delivers the message of rock and brings, as always, a powerful, gutsy and energetic vocal to the songs he sings, and he is without a doubt one of the country's foremost rock vocalists. Fredrik Kverneland pumps out hefty organ chords and solo parts that strengthen my joy of instrumental skills, because this is just unique and sends thoughts to people like Jon Lord, Manfred Mann and Ray Manzarek (the Doors). The rhythm section consists of Jan Cato Traa (drums) and Paul Ueland (bass) who drive the song forward and clearly confirm with authority and weight that this is Rock'n 'Roll."
Kingsman Call (2020 by Jan Ivar Høgrud - "Off the Record" Radio Modum)
Kingsman Call was featured as "Ukas anbefalte" in the newspaper "Stavanger Aftenblad" https://www.aftenbladet.no/kultur/i/1n12xQ/ukens-anbefalte-sanger
It also got a killer review on the radio:
"The new single for Taking Back October - Kingsman Call was released today and is now out on all streaming services. Again, the guys deliver to double six on the dice and it looks like it has become a habit from these rockers. Kingsman Call is a hefty rock song with strong melodic elements and a beautiful chorus that gives the song a refined feel. The heavy guitar riffs follow the band closely through their songs and are so damn delicious and liberating to listen to. The rhythm section is tight and heavy and feels like a real kick in the back and the vocals are, as always, absolutely fantastic, charismatic and world-class. We are also served Hammond tones and a Hammond solo that reminds me of Jon Lord and Don Airey in their finest moments. This is a song that sends an old rock heart straight to heaven of joy. Download this song and add it to your playlist."