Ammunition - Ammunition

Ammunition cover
Frontiers Music Srl
Dropping the Åge Sten Nielsen “characterization”, this is meant to be the follow up album to 2014’s “Åge Sten Nilsen’s” Ammunition debut “Shanghaied”. Teaming up with Erik from Eclipse, W.E.T etc., must have been one of the best ideas that Age had after a neat but little disoriented second solo album and the disintegration of his most famous band to that point… Norway’s Wig Wam (not to be confused with the 70s band). Not only did he find a capable producer and composer in Erik, but as it seems a bit of a true partner in crime, as well. Erik is one of the hardest working and most efficient guys in rock today, who seems able to juggle working for Eclipse, W.E.T and Ammunition concurrently, with little to no issue in schedule. All of them nice contemporary hard rock bands that remain true to rock’s melodic roots, without trying to reinvent the wheel.
Right from the go the band delivers an authoritative, groovy and edgy (but with the right amount of polish) hard rock alloy that seems to have taken the best from all the various hard rock subgenres.
“Time” has a healthy amount of groove, nice melodies and while it’s “commercial” rock, it’s got an edge to its verses that doesn’t let you second guess the bands intentions.
“Freedom Finder” (not fighter!) begins with some really brilliant melodic lines and despite never going beyond mid-tempo, it has the right amount of groove and melody to carry it forward and it’s the bridge-chorus in suitably great and positively epic.
“Virtual Reality Boy” could have been a dodgy tune, but instead it proved out to be quite the opposite, as it’s Europe meets Wig Wam aesthetics, combine lyrics about Eros in the cyber age with an irresistible huge chorus that gold(en).
“Gung Ho (I Told You So)” tries too hard to be different and “hip” but not “hop” during it’s intro – of some forty seconds or so and it seems to like that portion as it uses it as a pre-chorus device again and again but that section feels like a diamond dave leftover curiosity and it’s only the bridge-chorus that are  truly memorable here. Oh well – half stinker this one.
In “Eye for an Eye” it feels as if Erik has recycled some of his own melodies a bit lifting a bit from “The Downfall of Eden”, which in turn feels like it borrows a bit from Bon Jovi’s “We Don’t Run”, but it’s the vocal melodies that really carry it through and they work well, as Nielsen has the sort of voice that can really make the song work… granted it’s a “derivative”; it’s repackaged in such a way that it’s not really annoying, in fact quite the opposite.
“Tear Your City Down” is a simple arena rocker, with no frills, predictable as heck, almost feeling like the noble cousin of your average art-hair rockers of the 80s or the even more removed cousin of 80s Kiss. It works, but it won’t blow you away…
“Caveman” is trying even harder and has a thumbing bass line – I suppose again Kiss is really a big influence on this nutty, tarzan-rocker.
“Wrecking Crew” manages to really turn the tide around, as it trades the Kiss animal-ism for some Def Leppard Brit-cool, while holding out it’s Scandi own. A bona fide anthem of huge proportions, like few make em these days…
“Miss Summertime” is a very “American” sort of ballad that seems to draw from old rock n roll… those familiar with ASN’s solo material will feel at home with this, but even if you’re not, it’s a summery carefree tune, with nice leads that’s unlikely to put you off.
“Bad Bones” feels like the best song Scorpions haven’t written in years. I suppose this one along with “Tear Your City Down” have such a “commercial” Alice Cooper around “Trash” 80s Scorpions sort of anthemic vibe.
“Klondike” has a fuzzy, big riff and a funky nature, complete with handclaps; I suppose a bit of a potential hit and miss. I mean it’s got a decent chorus and the performance is spot on, but it feels a little formulaic. Not the worst way to finish an album and in fact, as I am reviewing a Japanese copy – not the “end”, as an acoustic version of “Eye for an Eye” serves the role of a bonus. In fact it’s pretty neat and I find it preferable to the “electric” version as it feels more artistic and vibey…
Almost as good as “Shanghaied”, Ammunition’s eponymous sophomore will keep glamsters, hard rockers, “posers”, you know your average hair rocker, who still wears his Bon Jovi, Def Lepp and Journey shirt over an ever expanding beergut – really happy!