As the hottest day of the year so far is predicted for this Saturday, at least in Germany, it makes sense to check out one or two records that might be suitable as a summer soundtrack. This is where the Swedes Pressure come in, whose promo landed in my mailbox some time ago. Although the quartet is stylistically quite far away from my actual preference, I would like to draw your attention to their second full-length In A Dark Heart We Trust.
It starts with a real hit: “Pressure“, from now on to be understood as the band’s anthem, offers great melodic metal/hard rock in which, apart from the beautiful guitar leads, the vocals are particularly pleasing: Olli Violet and Olof Jönsson sometimes sing together in two voices, sometimes they rotate – this combination of female and male vocals, which characterises the entire album, is certainly unusual and refreshing for that reason alone. The number unquestionably has hit qualities and should best be enjoyed with a tasty cold drink. Fortunately, Pressure have other songs on offer that are stylistically similar: “Is This Who You Are?“ is also highly melodic and equipped with plenty of hooks – live, this is presumably a real runaway hit.
However, there are also some straight, dirty rockers on In A Dark Heart We Trust (“Get A Real Job“, “Angel of Lightning“, “Hunter of Prey“), which also catch the ear well and all in all have plenty of sex appeal. Sometimes the really big choruses are missing here, which you would like to belt out with several hundred people in chorus – but we are moving on a pretty high level throughout.
However, Pressure also challenge their listeners: “Did You Really Know My Name“ is a soulful number with a lot of pathos that stands out from the rest of the record. This is even more true for the rather wacky “No More Promises To Break“, which rhythmically and qua vocals certainly cannot be described as catchy – the latter only applies to the guitar leads, which can convince throughout the album. The most unusual number is the closing ten-and-a-half-minute title track: this is a kind of radio play centred on a toxic love affair, performed with spoken words. This is daring and at times quite exhausting. Interesting is the fact that in each verse one of the previous song titles is used as a hook, so that the album lyrically seems like a well thought-out unit. Even though art is allowed to challenge, I prefer the more straightforward melodic metal/hard rock numbers, where Pressure can fully convince me – and deliver the summer soundtrack I mentioned above.
Conclusion: The Swedes present us with many ideas, not all of which I like, but which of course have their right to exist in this form – there is enough run-of-the-mill fare, and Pressure are unquestionably unique. A band that tries to develop an independent sound deserves my respect. That’s why I recommend you to give In A Dark Heart We Trust a chance, to find out if the more experimental elements can thrill you. Since the record is a good 62 minutes long, you should bring some time with you.