Hot off the Press

Casablanca | Miskatonic Graffiti

by Justin Gaines
– Sr. Columnist —

CasablancaNow here’s something you don’t see every day. Swedish Hard Rock band Casablanca, which features former Alice Cooper/Electric Angels guitarist Ryan Roxie as well as members of bands like Sahara Hotnights and Melody Club, has a new album out, and it’s a concept album based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Old Ones” stories. That’s right, a Swedish rock band doing a Lovecraft-themed concept album. Why the hell not?

It’s safe to say that Casablanca went all out for Miskatonic Graffiti, their third album to date. The band made a strong impression early on with their energized take on the ’70s glam rock and ’80s glam metal sound, and there is still a good measure of that sound on the new album. But the mammoth 10-minute leadoff track “Enter the Mountains” lets you know this isn’t your average melodic rock album. Miskatonic Graffiti has the hooks, the melodies and the retro charm we’ve come to expect from Casablanca, but there’s also an almost Progressive Rock side to things.

So we’ve got a Progressive Glam Rock concept album here, and oddly enough the idea really works. Miskatonic Graffiti is a smart, catchy, completely enjoyable album. Sure you have to give it a few spins to appreciate the larger themes, but songs like “Sister,” “Name, Rank Serial Killer,” “She Was the One” and the title track are so melodic and infectious that playing them over and over again is hardly a chore. And you can’t help but be impressed with what the band pulls off with the epic “Enter the Mountains” and closing number “Exit the Mountains.”

Casablanca really makes a strong impression here, and goes a long way towards making themselves stand out in a pretty crowded Swedish melodic rock pack. Miskatonic Graffiti is as addictive as it is ambitious, and is an album that anyone who appreciates the ’70s and ’80s rock styles – from T-Rex to Electric Angels to Hardcore Superstar to White Lion – should enjoy. It’s definitely not your average everyday rock n’ roll record.

Genre: Rock, Melodic Rock, Hard Rock

Anders Ljung (v)
Erik Almstrom (g)
Mats Rubarth (b)
Josephine Forsman (d)
Ryan Roxie (g)
Erik Stenemo (g)

Track Listing:
1. Enter the Mountains
2. Closer
3. This Is Tomorrow
4. My Shadow Out of Time
5. RE: Old Money
6. Sister
7. Name Rank Serial Killer
8. Miskatonic Graffiti
9. She Was the One
10. Exit the Mountains

Label: Despotz


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.75/10


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