Aces High are another classy hard rock outfit from Sweden. Similar in style to bands such as Thunder, XYZ and Nevada Beach, they released their (very hard to find!) debut album in 1997. The band features drummer Anders Johansson of Malmsteen / Holdsworth fame. In common with many similar bands from that neck of the woods, Aces High write excellent rockers and even better ballads, as demonstrated with our featured number. A band certainly worthwhile adding to the collection.
Do you remember the Swedish hard
rock band Aces High that released
the nice effort "Ten'n'out" in
94?!,well it surely had some strong
moments with classy melodic hard
rock mixed with AOR and then 4 years
later they returned with the follow
up "Pull no punches" that wasn't as
good as the debut.
Now after another 6 years this 5
piece hard rocking band is back with
a 3rd album in the same style as the
previous ones,Aces High play melodic
hard rock in the same vein as
MSG,Rainbow,Europe and Talisman to
mention a few.
They do it well and even if they
pull off all the cliche's-it's
performed with class and energy so
it never gets boring.
The opening track "Killing time"
smells Saxon a long way when they
did their excellent "Back to the
innocence" album,the title track
"Forgive and forget" is one of the
best songs on the album with a great
The half ballad "Tell me" sounds a
bit like Europe but singer Bjorn
Andersen doesn't have the same feel
and clear pitch as Joey Tempest on
it,then they walk in the footsteps
of Richie Blackmore on "Judas Kiss"
and "What I came for",very much
Rainbow meets Purple kinda
tracks.....they are ok for what they
are but I would have liked to hear
more AOR-ish sounding stuff instead.
The faster "Blinded" is only boring
and should've been the last track
instead of being in the middle of
the album,the smooth and enjoyable
instrumental piece "Legacy" sounds
somewhere between the soundtrack
themes of Cat People and Top Gun.
They end the album with "Listen to
fools",an epic song with great
drumhitting and once again lots of
Richie Blackmore vibes in the
I still think that the debut is
their strongest album up to date but
this new one satisfies too........
Forgive and forget:
Aces High were formed as Eyes in
1989 by guitarist Jake Sandberg,
bassist Anders Johansson and
keyboardist David Brandt. Later the
same year they got in touch with
Danish singer Bjørn Andersen and
also changed the name of the band to
Aces High, since a US band named
Eyes had emerged on the music scene.
The following year they acquired
drummer Matts Björkman
(ex-Quadruple) and in 1994 they
released their first album,
"Ten'n'out" which proceeded to
become very successful in Japan.
Fans of melodic hard rock had to
wait some years for the follow-up,
though. "Pull No Punches" was
released in 1998, now with Björkman
replaced by Anders Johansson
(ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, also in
Hammerfall) on drums. This prompted
the bassist with the same name to
start writing his name as Anders
J-sson to avoid confusion. And after
another long wait, they're back
again with "Forgive & Forget".
The album is generally very solid
melodic metal, there is nothing here
that truly blew me away, but then
again there is nothing here that is
anything below average. Vocalist
Bjørn Andersen has a very distinct
voice, somewhere between that of Ian
Gillan and Biff Byford, the guitars
are solid, with strong hooks that
focus more on the song than riffing
away into oblivion, whilst the
hammond organ adds a Deep Purple
vibe to many of the tracks.. The mix
does let the album down a little, it
just sounds a little flat. Yet the
albums highlights like the
instrumental prelude to the solo in
Forgive & Forget do not suffer as a
result of this.
One thing that became apparent to me
is that the band use much cleaner
guitar sounds that many of their
counterparts, this allows the tones
to breathe a little more and gives a
punchier edge, which does make it
through the aforementioned mix. Also
its plainly apparent is the band
seem more concerned for the song
than highlighting individual
Overall a solid enough slice of
Scandi Melodic Metal.
Nicky Anderson (vocals), Jake
Sandberg (guitar), Anders Johansson
(bass), David Brandt (keyboards),
Mats Björklund (drums)