Pellek – Bag Of Tricks
I don’t get this PelleK person. Never mind his name sounds like a breakfast cereal, but the first time I saw one of his self-obsessed YouTube-videos I almost puked. Here’s a guy with a great power metal voice acting like a pop diva. I thought that kind of behavior was reserved for Urban Breed.
My only previous exposure to this guy (whose real name is Per Fredrik Åsly, but styles himself with a pseudonym. You know, kind of like how every dude in a thrash band is named Anthony Razorwire) was his full time band Damnation Angels. While that act has some good butter stretched over too much bread, PelleK was one of the clear standouts. I remember thinking he needed a band to go along with his skill. Well, now he’s gotten solo with his debut record Bag Of Tricks.
Like so many solo albums (is Lance King’s A Moment In Chiros really the only exception?), this one highlights the musician in question and ignores everything else. There’s not even an attempt at creative songwriting. Shocking, considering the involved talent of Tommy Johansson of ReinXeed, whose orchestration outshadows everything else on this album. Is it really a wonder that the instrumental title track is the best song that sounds like a leftover from Welcome To The Theater? One wonders what it’s doing here, since PelleK is unheard for the whole thing. I bet he’s just eating a sandwich in the corresponding clip.
Bag Of Tricks also suffers from an overabundance of balladry. We all know ballads are the best display of crooning, and I bet it scored high in Åsly’s Norwegian X-Factor days (of which he was a finalist of sorts). But we are metal fans, not weeping children. The plethora of guest stars serves little purpose here, all doing what is expected of them: sounding like themselves. One of the better tunes is “Stare Into My Eyes”, where PelleK trades vocals with Tommy “ReinXeed”, and features a perfunctory appearance by Tommy Karevik. Sadly Åsly retains center stage instead of letting his guests rip. The composition isn’t refreshing enough to make this a power metal team-up to remember either. Bottom line: no matter how prestigious the supporting cast, if the songwriting isn’t up to par, you end up with Angel Of Babylon.
All in all, Bag Of One-Tricks isn’t the grand showcase PelleK probably imagined it to be, but rather a waste of potential about as vapid as his YouTube-material. I’d strongly advise him to get out of X-Factor-mode if he ever wants to be taken seriously as a metal singer. Otherwise he might just join an ABBA-cover group and be done with it.
Arno’s rating: 2.0 out of 5