|Review: Universe - Universe|
Label: Pride & Joy Music
Year released: 2018
Originally released in: 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: October 8, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (4 Votes)
Sweden isn't always known for its Metal scene in the '80s, but it was fairly active and contained some damn fine bands that don't always get the recognition they deserve. Universe were among the finest, with their self-titled debut garnering a cult following in the underground over time. Well deserved, I say, because this is the kind of album that reminds you why we call the '80s the Golden Age of Metal to begin with.
Universe worked in a rocking, commercially viable form of Heavy Metal that was only a few steps removed from the NWOBHM sound. There aren't really any gimmicks to speak of with this kind of thing, so you have to be damn good at what you do to stand a chance, and Universe had that nailed down. Opener "Rollin' On" opens the album in style with killer riffs and an unforgettable chorus, and the quality doesn't stop there. You get strong songs like "Stories of the Old Days" and "Looking for an Answer" along with lost classics like "Angel", the blazing "Strong Vibrations", and the album highlight "Weekend Warrior", all of which contain excellent old-school guitar work and stellar vocal lines wrapped up in a production job that's vintage in the best possible way. Not everything is golden, though, as "Lonely Child" is the archetypical Lame '80s Ballad and "Woman" is a more standard rock tune that doesn't stand up to the rest of the album, but these are small blemishes on an otherwise stellar album.
The band would call it quits shortly after this was released with the members going on to different projects, reforming in 2018 as Universe Infinity and sounding like Journey wannabes in the process. Still, that does nothing to hamper the quality of this release, and anyone yearning for the old days of Metal need to give this album their immediate attention. It can be hard to get a physical copy of this, since the only reissue it received was a limited pressing of 1000 copies in 2018, but it's well worth the effort to track down.
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