Hot off the Press

Nasty Idols | Back to Kalifornia

by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —

Nasty IdolsThese guys have been called the godfathers of the Swedish Sleaze Metal Movement. Newer acts like Crazy Lixx and Hardcore Superstar may be resurrecting that sleazy ‘80s hard rock sound, but Nasty Idols were actually THERE during the ‘80s. They debuted when the swaggering Sunset Strip sound was at its peak and while their style has grown a little harder-edged, they have never stopped rocking like it was 1989, give or take a couple of hiatuses along the way. Hey, godfathers need their rest.

Back to Kalifornia is not an album aimed at gaining new fans, it’s an album made to please the Nasty Idols faithful. The formula remains unchanged and really, why should it? This approach has worked for the band this long, so engaging in radical alterations or deviating from what the fans expect would be a recipe for disaster. So the band sticks to what they know—Andy Pierce’s raspy vocals delivering the attitude, the guitars turned up to maximum crank, the drums loud and punchy, and solid choruses that suffer from been-there-heard-that hooks that are bolstered by gang backup vocals that give them some beefy compensation. All in all, save for a couple of fillers at the end of the album, this formula works.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Back to Kalifornia never really grabs you by the balls. Hard rock aficionados will listen to it and be happy enough, but the kind of exuberant praise bands receive when they deliver killer tunes will not be forthcoming. There’s nothing to hate, but nothing to really love either…though there is a lot to like. This is the sleaze-metal equivalent of the semi-cute girl next door that you wouldn’t mind banging but would never consider marrying.

Now, not every album needs to knock your socks off to be worth your time. Just as vanilla ice cream still tastes good, so too can a straight-forward hard rock band sound enjoyable, and “enjoyable” is an adjective that certainly applies to Nasty Idols. The opening track “No More Rules” reveals a band that has not slowed down since they started dishing out the dirty rock a quarter-century ago, a solid anthem of roaring guitars, romping rhythms, and rip-it-up attitude. “Sister Sin” earns the band their sleaze-metal tag with lyrics about “tits and ass” and sports a fun, infectious, Poison-like vibe. Sure, it’s standard issue cock-rock subject matter, but were you expecting Shakespeare? Nobody wants deep, serious introspection’s about the meaning of life mucking up their sleaze metal.

Back to Kalifornia is exactly what you should expect from Nasty Idols by now… no more, no less. It will not make you fall down and worship before its sonic awesomeness, but neither will it make you drop to your knees and vomit. Younger bands may be blowing the roof off the Swedish Sleaze Metal genre right now, but it’s still good to hear one of the original purveyors back and still rocking hard.

Genre: Hard Rock, Sleaze Metal

Andy Pierce (lead vocals)
Dick Qwarfort (bass)
Peter Espinoza (guitar)
Rikki Dahl (drums)

Track Listing
1. No More Rules
2. Kalifornia
3. 1969
4. Night By Night
5. Nightstalkin’
6. Sister Sin
7. Pleasure of the Pain
8. Roadtrip
9. Sweet Suicide
10. Jack in the Box
11. Since U Been Gone

Label: Metal Heaven


Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10