We all know what an astounding record Coup De Grace was, mainly because most of us are still playing it some 6 years since it was released. Where has that time gone??
With Ghost Of Graceland Swedish legends Treat warned us that they were changing things up a little for the new album – updating their sound for a modern day feel.
And that they have done, but this is no leap into the unknown or unfamiliar territory. There are noticeable changes and some fairly contemporary sounds going on, but at the heart of this album is twelve absolutely cracking melodic rock songs that are driven by hooks, melodies and choruses to die for.
Then there is the production! The updated sound is a perfect fit for the band and sees them continue to evolve. The feel is somewhat lighter, despite a couple of tracks being every bit as heavy as ever and there are orchestral parts all over this record.
This album is still going to sound fresh in 6 years the same way that Coup De Grace has kept us company for the last 6.
Everything about this album screams class, style and intelligent songwriting. Not a weak track or filler to be found and the band deserve to be proud of yet another essential release.
This is a different beast than Coup De Grace. The guitars and overall production style is more attuned to a modern rock market than classic Scandi-hard rock. There are also a lot of additional effects and synth passages and even the vocals are at times slanted towards a modern accent.
In places I could imagine something similar coming from the likes of Shinedown, but once the chorus hits – every time it’s a melodic home run.
There are so many anthemic choruses on here; it was hard to keep track of them all! Several weeks of listening later, it still sounds fresh and new and exciting to listen to.
Opening the album with a mid-tempo, heavy anthem, the band immediately signals that they’ve updated their sound. So guitars might be a bit more aggressive and tuned down a little, but the chorus is immediately likable. The symphonic keyboards add real texture to the song.
I Don't Miss the Misery is what I referred to before when I compared some tracks to Shinedown. The intro, heavy riff and verse vocal is pure modern rock, but the chorus is glorious, hands in the air, anthemic bliss. I love the contrasts.
Better the Devil You Know is kinda left of center and something different again, until another anthemic layered chorus arrives to throw us back to the 80s.
Do Your Own Stunts is an extraordinary song in any day or age. It’s not quite a ballad, not quite anything else. Basically it’s a slow, building track with a lot of heart and a lead vocal and chorus that defy gravity. Add in orchestral parts and piano and you have a modern masterpiece.
That track rolls seamlessly into Endangered, which is more traditional Treat and once again features a likeable commercial verse before a monster chorus blows things sky high.
Inferno is a very similar track and delivers a one-two old-school melodic rock punch of big choruses and big hooks.
The curiously titled Alien Earthlings is slower and darker and creeps along with a modern vibe until, yes once again, a monster anthemic layered chorus arrives for singalong time.
Nonstop Madness is a simpler, more relaxed track, but there’s no letup in pace or that expected big anthem chorus.
Too Late to Die Young rocks along at a good pace, perhaps the fastest rocker of the album. The beat thumps and the vocal harmonies and a killer chorus make it yet another winner.
House on Fire probably blends into the album more inconspicuously than some other tracks, but it has its place. It’s all hooks and while not as immediate as others, still grows into an essential track over time.
Together Alone is a beautiful ballad that sticks in your head, sung by guitarist Anders Wikstrom and accompanied only with piano and orchestra. The chorus is layers deep in instrumentation and makes quite an impact. It reminds me a little of something Mike Tramp might try.
Everything to Everyone closes the album with a multi-layered mid-tempo rocker. Another good chorus of course and in many ways the albums closes in the same musical way it started.
Ghost Of Graceland is full of class, full of more classic Treat songs and full of extraordinary production techniques that take several weeks to absorb and appreciate. I would not be surprised if some come back to this album in several years’ time to discuss how it lead the way as far as moving melodic rock in a more modern, contemporary direction.
Coup De Grace was more a traditional melodic hard rock record that had almost universal appeal. This album perhaps may not have the legs of its predecessor, due to the style and overall more laid back design, but there’s no denying this is another classic and an album the band and us as fans should be very proud of. Brilliant as hoped.