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John Duva: John Duva

Just when I felt greater comfort with my grasp of Swedish Heavy Metal, along comes this self-titled recording by John Duva to remind me that there's so much more I don't know. Obviously, I should never have assumed that every hard rock release coming out of Sweden would be Death metal, but listeners have embraced so much of that style of late, I was expecting only more death growls, devilish imagery, and a despairing attitude. But John Duva surprised me. They are a hard rock band, one that more devil-may-care than devil-inflected. If I had to sum up this album with one word, it would be attitude. Listening to this release, I hear a mixture of punk, garage rock, and another style I can't quite describe. They call it psychedelic, but the sound is more invested in power than atmosphere. I want to compare then to early AC/DC or the Velvet Underground (without Lou Reed's vocal style), or even Mountain, but those comparisons aren't quite right. Let's just say that these guys have a legitimate feeling of presence that caught my attention.

Readers will quickly notice that some of the song titles are in English and some are in Swedish. If English is your primary language, don't let the language differences throw you off from discovering these guys. Their musical sound and attitude comes through effectively in every track. Just listen to the way the drums and guitars drive the sound and you'll forget that you don't always understand the words. Besides, when they sing in English, you will have no trouble understanding the raw, aggressive, nature of their lyrics. The track that I enjoyed the most was entitled "Åkkke." The lyrics, in English, seem to be about the passionate dislike we sometimes feel for certain people. The song begins with a strong bass note pulsating on a simple 4/4 beat, as if capturing the steady beat of anger pulsating in our veins. The lyrics, however, capture the mood better than the music. Sung by more than one member, words like "I want you to die," "I want you to burn," "I want to see his head on the ground," and so forth capture the point well. I point out these lyrics, not because of their inherent violence, but because they help capture what I feel is the essence of John Duva generally. Lots of bands sing about hatred and violence, but this song felt, to me, more like an attempt to find that cathartic release from anger by singing about it. This is the anger that we think of in AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" before actually doing anything about it.

I've probably spent too long on this single track, but I thought it represented much of the band's sound, attitude, and style. If you like hard rock that looks back to the 60s, not for nostalgia, but for real inspiration, you'll enjoy John Duva. I know I did.

Track Listing:
1. The Wind
2. Om Du Älskar
3. Gå Till Sjöss
4. Vi Drar Vårt Strå
5. In My Head
6. Heart / Soul
7. Arbetsnarkomaner
8. Åkkke
9. Guds Hämnd Är Satans Smör
10. Chains

Added: January 15th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Artist MySpace Page
Hits: 1796
Language: english

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