Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz

Finnish glam metallers’ more‐is‐more second.

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Given Scandinavia’s fine hair-metal heritage, it’s perhaps no surprise that a new generation has spawned its own crop of backcombed delinquents to breathe new life into the genre.

And Finland’s Santa Cruz certainly have the skills to pay the bills: songs such as We Are The Ones To Fall and Waste & Wounded burst with crowd-baiting hooks, while the squiddletastic guitar work of front duo Archie and Johnny sprays welcome instrumental fireworks across Velvet Rope and Let Them Burn.

Elsewhere, snatches of pummelling thrash add an extra injection of intensity every now and then to remind you that we’re still in the 21st century.

If there’s a fault, it’s that they sometimes sound like they’re trying a touch too hard to impress, cramming riffs, solos, trills and codas into the 10 songs to a point where the simple, sharp punch this kind of stuff demands is a touch diluted. But going a little over the top never did their heroes any harm, right?/o:p

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock