"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Distorted Wonderland - "Distorted Wonderland" (CD)

Distorted Wonderland - "Distorted Wonderland" CD cover image

"Distorted Wonderland" track listing:

1. Raised On Rock n' Roll
2. Losing It
3. Slave Of My Desire
4. In For A Thrill
5. Never Had Nothing
6. Behind The Scenes
7. Waving The Flag
8. Stand And Deliver
9. Guillotine Babies
10. On The Other Horizon
11. Tangerine

Reviewed by on April 10, 2011

"As debut albums go — especially those from members of established acts looking to try something new — Distorted Wonderland's first disc isn't a bad start."

Toughening up the glam sound their previous band was known for, ex-Overnight Sensation singer Olof Lindgren and bassist Axel Karlsson have come back with Distorted Wonderland, whose self-titled debut album evokes the big choruses of the 1980s without sounding too dated. Guitarist Fredrik Lundstedt has a lot to do with that, playing thick, bluesy riffs and solos that add a considerable amount of grit.

There are definitely echoes of glam, particularly in the album's opener, "Raised On Rock n' Roll," which falls somewhere between Motley Crue and Motorhead on the heaviness scale. It's a decent, if slightly lightweight introduction to the new band, that will likely not alienate Lindgren and Karlsson's previous fanbase.

Things get a bit heavier on "Losing It," which feels a bit like a Dio track until the poppy chorus. Then, it's off to the land of acoustic bottleneck and sleaze rock on "Slave Of My Desire," with the big choruses feeling a bit incongruous to Lundstedt's growling riff (and, for that matter, Lindgren's vocals during the verses).

No such problem occurs on the punky "In For A Thrill," which is arguably the best track on the disc — and definitely features Lundstedt's best solo — a wah-wah accented burst of theatrics that blends Slash-style boogie with Van Halen-style virtuosity.

The rest of the album tends to follow the format set by the first few tracks, with "Guillotine Babies" bringing back the acoustic guitar, "Stand And Deliver" being a slow blues burner and "On The Horizon" and the glam-tinged "Tangerine" bringing back the punky speed.

Lost in the shuffle are the pretty inconsequential "Never Had Nothing" and "Waving The Flag," which don't add much to the album. The disc's worst track is definitely "On The Other Horizon," in which the big vocals come across as a bit cheesy and Lundstedt's heavy riffs have an almost monotone quality to them. A decent solo can't quite save the track.

As debut albums go — especially those from members of established acts looking to try something new — Distorted Wonderland's first disc isn't a bad start. Still, there are a few tracks in which the gang choruses don't quite mesh with the newfound heaviness in the verses.

Highs: "Losing It," "In For A Thrill" and "Slave Of My Desire"

Lows: "On The Other Horizon," "Waving The Flag" and ""Never Had Nothing."

Bottom line: A decent debut that adds toughness to the glam sound the band's founders are known for.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)