Back when I was a bored teenager, which if it seems like a lifetime ago it’s because it was, my escape from suburban mediocrity was Heavy Metal.
Always capitalised, Heavy Metal allowed me to shut out the humdrum of my everyday existence, replacing it with a whole spectrum of disordered noise, by bands from Stoke-on-Trent, Copenhagen, and Tampa, Florida.
The damage it did to my chances with the opposite sex – never good to start with – and to my grasp of teenage fashion, was more than made up for by the assault of the senses and the parents that Heavy Metal prided itself upon.
The actual music varied wildly, from soft, almost progressive rock, through to unintelligible speed and death metal. It didn’t matter – we had to like it all and we kept up our end of the bargain. We were Heavy Metal fans and this was our thing.
I left my metal days behind me long ago, although I’ve always suspected it never really leaves you. Like rock ‘n’ roll, I suspect Heavy Metal will never truly die, and it doesn’t surprise me that there’s still a thriving market for the stuff, a fecund morass which The Poodles strut around, like kings of the swamp.
I’m sure there’s a more accurate description for the sound The Poodles pedal than Heavy Metal. But that’s exactly what it is, stripped of chronological and geographical context like it could have come from Los Angeles in 1987 rather than Stockholm in 2015.
Devil In The Details is their sixth album, and their first for Sony affiliate Gain. It will find a place in the denim- and leather-clad hearts of disaffected suburban teenagers and those who for whom arrested development is still development, yeah?
The guitars chug and scream at the appropriate levels, and the rhythm section keeps pounding away at a steady, infectious beat: this is accomplished Heavy Metal. And if you find solace in lyrics which promise enlightenment and deliver a bunch of words that are a great effort for someone for whom English is presumably a second language, then you will not be disappointed.
I shouldn’t be so hard. I may not have completely left Heavy Metal behind in my teenage years but it’s obviously abandoned me. The songs of my youth, so similar in sound, still resonate, but their contemporary counterparts – in date of creation if not inspiration – clearly do not.
That’s okay. This album, this band, they’re not for me. I don’t need them for what they do but what they do is still very important.
Devil In The Details is released on April 27th on Gain Music.