In recent years we have witnessed the clamorous explosion of the rock and metal scene in the Scandinavian countries, and today it seems something completely natural that among the best records that are coming out every year there are lots of bands from Sweden, Finland and Norway. Back in the 90’s, however, there was a really unique and exceptional case of a crazy group from Oslo which not only got the attention of fans and critics with a series of incredible albums, but in the end managed even to coin a new genre, the “deathpunk”. This band was Turbonegro, but as incredibly as their music was, their fame remained limited to the underground world of punk rock and metal, without reaching that universal celebrity that they would have deserved. Perhaps, however, given that process of sterilization of music that unfortunately happens to almost every group that achievee larger commercial success, to some extent we can even be grateful that Turbonegro mostly remained confined to the indie and underground worlds.
Surely they were not facilitated by the excessive and extravagant image they gave to themselve, which was further amplified by the crazy titles which they gave to their albums, definitely far to be mainstream-friendly. At least in this single aspect, however, the guys from Norway must have made some progress and in fact today, instead of the various Ass Cobra or Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives, their new album will be on the shelves with a much more moderate name of Rocknroll Machine.
The new disc of Turbonegro breaks a period of silence of about six years from the previous work, and I must admit that when I became aware of this new publication I had initially mixed reactions. It often happens with the bands that we loved spasmodically when we were teenagers that the news of a new release generates some concern of having to see them scraping the bottom of the barrel of musical inspiration, or rather to find them experimenting with the sounds and styles of modern rock, which they obviously are not accustomed with. But from the first moment that the new album was launched through the speakers of my music system, I realized that all my fears were totally unjustified. This is really one of the few bands that gives no attention to trends and fashions, and which carries on its particular vision of rock and roll without any additive or necessity to insert elements of “modernity”.
Leaving aside the chronicles of the various line-up changes that occurred in the recent years and focusing only on the musical aspect, their latest album seems to be split almost in half between a tribute to the classic hard rock of the AC DC and a second group of songs that result closer to that style of deathpunk that the Norwegians launched more than twenty years ago. In both cases we can definitely enjoy that special kind of catchy and straight-up rock that easily become addictive. And in the short time span of barely 40 minutes we find ourselves invested by the energy and the passion that shines through everything that Turbonegro decide to play. This is timeless rock and roll music, with no frills, easygoing and energetic. Just play it loudly and enjoy.
Rocknroll Machine is available for streaming since early February 2018, the physical LP will be available from March 2nd, 2018.