For a band that formed in 1985 Roulette never reached the peaks they deserved…this was mainly down to that old chestnut, record label cock-ups. The good news is thatbassist/vocalist Hansi Fellbrink, Thomas Lundgren on vocals, Magnus Nelin on guitar/vocals and Mats Nelin on drums, are back together and have recorded ten new tracks that have inherited their Swedish AOR roots and updated them with modern melodic rock sensibilities. The new album, aptly called Now!Is an amalgam of all that is good in the crowded AOR/Melodic rock arena: anthemic choruses and more hooks that an angling emporium.
Opener ‘Never Enough’ takes a Van Halen riff and modifies it into a new and solid slice of melodic rock. ‘We Can Make It’ has Whitesnake DNA, but it keeps its own identity and the heavy ballad structure really works well. ‘Soldiers of Love’ has a great intro and the hefty chords of the main riff lead to the anthemic chorus and there’s a short and entertaining guitar solo too. ‘Secret Room’ brings us the piano led ballad and the vocals here are spot on. This is another example of melodic rock as it should be…keys, chorus and damned catchy. ‘Better Day’ serves another slice of quality that ticks all the right boxes. Best of the lot for me, is the closing track ‘Right By Your Side’. Yes, it is another borderline formulaic piece of melodic rock… but when it is done this well, who cares! It also has a complexity in the instrumentation, if you listen closely, that most of this sort of music glosses over. This is quality AOR without a shred (!) of a doubt and the guitar solo is short but sweet.
I really enjoyed this album and it is a quality entry into the crowded melodic rock market…and a lot better than some of the dross that is released under that banner. No, it isn’t new, it’s a new take on a well-established format and if you like early Europe or the sheen of W.E.T. or H.E.A.T. then you will love this one.