I know it’s a little bit heretical, and purist fans of Crashdïet‘s early work with the ill-starred Dave Lepard won’t entertain a bar of what I’m about to say – but I’ll be damned if I’ve ever heard the Swedish sleaze merchants in as all-round world-beating form as they appear to be on new album Automaton.

As the closing notes of this album’s last track – a titanic ballad in the vein of White Lion and Def Leppard entitled I Can’t Move On (Without You) – fall out into the ether, you’re left to reflect on what it is you’ve just spent forty-odd minutes listening to, how the band have effortlessly moved with the times, in doing so upgrading their ‘old fashioned’ music to something that modern ears will have absolutely no problems processing.

That’s a big problem for sleaze bands in 2022 of course – the glory days of this kind of music might as well have been recorded a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away for all the relevance they have to the way today’s young people live their lives – but our heroes have managed to do just that whilst still staying true to the genres central tenets, which is a feat in itself that deserves both applause and the highest praise possible.

This is doubly important when you consider the fact that the most eagerly awaited sleaze/hair metal album of the last thirty years – the new, Erik Grönwall-electrified Skid Row opus The Gang’s All Here – might well blow all the opposition out of the water if the hype (and those poorly-recorded Vegas snippets doing the rounds on the interweb) are to be believed; However, on listening to cocky, superbly-constructed slabs of heavy melodic metal like Shine (ironically a track which sounds like nothing so much as a H.EA.T. chart-bound smash)or this album’s standout track Shellshock it’s hard to see anything or anyone rocking Crashdïet’s boat anytime soon – the songs collected together here are that good.

Props must go to newish vocalist Gabriel Keyes, whose versatile voice is the glue that holds the many facets of this band together; even the arrival of ‘star’ guest Ralph Saenz doesn’t throw shade on the man’s prowess, and throughout he handles anything thrown at him by guitarist Martin Sweet with the sort of grace under pressure usually displayed only by the very best in the business.

Hence, the radio-friendly tracks – that ballad I mentioned, plus the classy Darker Minds – pack as much punch as the stadium metal numbers; these guys really do have all the bases covered and, in the final washup, it’s hard to see that Automaton will be viewed as anything other than one of the best album s of it’s type released this year when poll time comes around. This is consummate stuff, and should be adored as such. Get it into your ears as soon as is humanly possible!

Automaton releases on April 29th.