Whilst the opening spoken word introduction which leads us into Scandic Tribe’s debut album keeps you guessing where this is all leading, it is a question which is quickly resolved as Dusty Sunrise kicks in with its classic rock hallmarks. But if you think that it is a genre which has had its day, Light At The End is a perfect reminder that certain music is called classic for a reason and their blend of traditional rock sounds, inherent melody, hook laden songwriting and modern day sass make it a worthy torch bearer for its modern incarnation.
If hard rock, in many ways, feels intrinsically linked to a European heartland, seems to carry a Teutonic weight on its shoulders and Nordic blood through its veins, it is, arguably, in America where the genre reached its greatest heights. Scandic Tribe are the embodiment of this ideal, Thomas Okland and Morten GP, a Norwegian vocalist and Danish guitarist respectively, took their Old World sounds to the New World and the band was born.
Light At The End is a worthy addition to the rock canon, leaning more to the melodic side of things than the harder-edge but built around all the sonic trappings and embedded traditions of the genre and still displaying a wide range of styles within the chosen rock field. Angel is bluesy mid paced instrumental and Life is Good is the sort of power ballad that Extreme would have bitten your arm off for back in the day. At the other extreme they prove that they can rock out with the best of them via groovy strutters like Only Will Tell whilst Heroes sails very close to the iconic Def Leppard sound.
Sad Times has some wonderful sax sounds bubbling away just below the surface and it is inclusions such as this and the flamenco guitars which add detail to My Sweet Baby Valentine, sounds not normally part of the hard rock landscape, that might just be the key to them getting noticed above those staying too close to the template.
It’s a solid collection and a great effort, I feel that they are yet to fully define their own sound instead relying too much on the existing sound palette, but it feels like that is only a short step away. Before very long they will have written that one future classic which will truly put them on the map and even though this is the sound of a band finding their musical feet, as debuts go it is a great first step, one which more than suggests a promising future ahead.