80sclassicbutton3.gif (5086 bytes)80s Classic for July 200280sclassicbutton3.gif (5086 bytes)

Track Listing
1. Move It In the Night
2. I'm Alone
3. Saying
4. Damned Woman
5. Don't Turn Me Upside Down
6. Lies
7. Victim of the System
8. City Child
9. Double Crossed

Polydor/ELAP 1986

skagarack1.jpg (29103 bytes)


More Releases by Skagarack:
Skagarack - Skagarack (1986)
Skagarack - Slice of Heaven (1990)
Skagarack - Big Time (1993)
Related Releases (sound):
Icon - Night of the Crime (1985)
Madison - Best in Show (1986)
Europe - Out of This World (1988)


Another Skagarack album was featured as 80s AOTM sometime back, and this one, I must say, is approached with equal, if not surpassing adoration as "Hungry For A Game". Being Skag's debut outing and absolute Danish delight from the first delightful concoction to the last. It is a piece of pure bliss, a slice of AOR melodic rock perfection and a classic in every sense of the word. The single "I'm Alone" was a major hit in their native country and also garned them attention from parts of the rest of the world, including the music loving Japanese who embraced them mightily while the US turned a cruel, blind eye to this booming hard rock subgenre in general that kept pumping out stellar releases that never hit mainstream alongside other similiar flavored favorites like Da Vinci, Treat and Madison.

Formed in 84 by vocalist and axe slinger Torben Schimdt, guitarist Jan Petersen and drummer Alvin Otto, all members of the band Pulse before, they welcomed into their wings Morten Munch on the bass and Tommy Rasmussen on keys and they gelled like few bands ever could dream of doing. The result of this collaboration of musicians is like a well tuned racehorse that is the Secretariat of melodic rock: sleek, shining, never lacking in ability or passion and at the beginning, yet pinnacle of their careers. It was this album that should have hit number one and put Scandanavia on the mainstream map once and for all as a fertile breeding ground of superior rock acts, but alas it was not to be. Skagarack's follow ups "Hungry For a Game" and "Slice of Heaven" were wonderful in their own special ways, "Big Time" shot them down from their pedestal and like a wounded bird they slowly faded away into nonexistance, but will always be remembered for their fabulous melodies so tight and luscious that words often fail when describing them, as you will soon see....


01.] "Move It In the Night"
The opening track is finely composed, quick and lovely with just tons of keyboards oozing from all exposed areas... the repetitive but made for singing verses and a chorus that swells with plenty of background vocal help, kicks the album off on a good start that will draw comparisions to '81 Foriegner, for those that think a 'Treat' is for a dog and 'Da Vinci' was just a painter, just delivered in a very pronounced accent.

02.] "I'm Alone"
While "Move It In the Night" is a cool warmup, nothing prepares one for this cooing too sweet and upbeat for its theme, tribute to missing love along the lonely light and shadow play of the city night. Expressive vocals teetering on the high pitched, reflecting the chilly heart of loneliness flow smoothly with the hookfilled melodies and the lavishly keyboard decorated chorus. One of the focal points of the cd, a tad on the repetitive side, but the Scandi melodic warmth shines through and carrying it effortlessly.

03.] "Saying"
"Oh yeah." Then "yeah yeah yeah!!" Nothing but the highest quality lyrics here! Enough jabs, this one rocks despite its giggle inducing opening. The guitar riffs along aggressively during the verses, lightened by chiming sounds that flies into intricate key play set to synthesizer in wild abundance lending the chorus a very pure 80s pop sound. Oh and did I mention "oh so addictive?" Seem to have left out that small detail...

04.] "Damned Woman"
Grunting electric guitar that is reminscient of a lumbering Black Sabbath riff, sends up this slow seething track with its array of twisting questions and contradictions. Vocal verses stand out stark against drums that thump like a slow heartbeat and long tightly held notes by Schmidt (back when his voice was higher and solid as a rock) signal the push back into the chorus with its probing heavy thunking guitars... keyboards lightning the mood for the declarations of love, that will not die despite the abuse from this 'damned woman'.

05.] "Don't Turn Me Upside Down"
A quick trip back to the glorious synthesizer days of yore is this purely fun filled summertime breezy track that is slick, bouncy and addictive. Rather simplistic with perhaps too overly repetitive vocals, but the mood, nostalgic factor and those undeniably infectious sing-a-long qualities make it a winner nevertheless. For a fast fix of melodic Scandified metal, it fits the bill perfectly.

06.] "Lies"
Another saccharine sticky sweet treat from the frozen lands. The melodies come flowing like a frothy wave and the lyrics are the icy shore they lap upon. The distrubing subject is that of lies that fall like rain from the devilishly luscious lips of his venomous lady lass. Schimdt plays the role of that victim, making every word twist in a velvet blanket of pain, wrapped in a determined layer of warmth. Synth pulses in extravagant 80s fashion with pent up irritation and the guitar melts the ice that collects around the edges.

07.] "Victim of the System"
A haunting opening is very unlike the band, but expect the unexpected for they do things one would not even dream of in this kind of context. That's not even mentioning the almost too-heavy guitars, fit for a real 'heavy' metal band, that sizzle ominiously in the background, silenced with a piercing "no!" The drums do not officially kick in til midway through the illustration painted by the words of Schmidt, and when they do its a startling revelation as the song begins to slide into the proper gear and truly get going. Winging into the chorus, background voices punctuate the word "More" as the lead singer dives into one line after another with chilling clarity. The music slides off the edge of the world, bringing the entire tapestry to a breathtaking halt for the period of a heartbeat, before it abrupty surges back to life, shocked into existance. Our lead is still singing with the utmost height of emotion, ushering in dramatics into his tone much like the epic theatrics of Ronnie James Dio or Tony Martin. Another run through of the chorus and it ends with dueling guitars crying out their freedom from the 'system'.

08.] "City Child"
The stringing twang of acoustic and lovely hushed full bodied vocals let the song take wing with a flighty slower tempo steeped in the sounds of sadness. Pan flute tops it off, allowing it to soar like an eagle, light fluffy and beautiful, clouds passing over the sky, then the sun is hidden and lightning strikes. From the heavens comes an emotionally timed assault of hard rocking sound: laborious drums, chugging electric that offsets the lead that dances with a confident delicacy upon the song's surface and vocals that change from the light to the forceful. Nice contrasts and synthesizer bits make it an asset to the cd, not to mention the wistful "oh ohs", "alrights" and "ooh yeahs" from Schmidt.

09.] "Double Crossed"
Swirling synth right out of a hazy sci-fi song, turn upon themselves in looping psychedelic curves open the song but are soon beat into silence by chugging guitar and stirring vocals. To end the album is another addictive piece that stretches out into melodic elegance, leaning on the strength of melodies and hooky choruses. Played with fire and style til the fading end... only... its not the end... surging back to life like a fallen phoenix from the ashes, it lets out one final hurricane blast of sound before crashing down for good. Nicely done.


Finally, some dozen plus years since its initial release, Skagarack's quality packed debut release is earning some of the praise it rightfully deserved, heralded as a forgotten gem in rock's shady 80s past. How it could have been ignored, kept out of the Americas and sent to the discount racks before its chance to shine was allowed is unforgivable. Slick stuff like "Double Crossed", "Move It In the Night" and "Lies" could and should have been US staples but life is never fair, and the best are often the most obscure. The band may be ten years gone, but the music still lives on. Those that have overlooked the bountiful supply of 1980s Scandi acts and are looking for a place to start their musical discoveries, search no'll find few finer discs than this.

Ratings and Wrap Up:
Songs - 8.0, Performance - 8.5, Production - 7.7, Lyrics - 7.5

Hot Spots: "I'm Alone", "Damned Woman", "Lies"
Bottom Line: There's nothing quite like Euro hard rock with a fair share of pop.

Review by Alanna Evans -

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