Album Review: Degreed “Are You Ready” (2022)


Our beloved Degreed has recorded an incredible album to enjoy from beginning to end “Are You Ready”

One of our favorite bands, our good Swedish friends Degreed, (we will never forget the good time we had with them at the gig at the Riviera when they opened for H.E.A.T., here you can read what we wrote about it), releases their new album, their sixth one, Are You Ready. The great novelty is that, that they bring us new music, but we can not fail to mention the other, that they also bring this album well wrapped by their new company, Frontiers.

Although we do not speak of a radical change, of a different approach, the essence of Degreed is there, and that is the important thing, they are unmistakable, but we have to say that Are You Ready is a more settled, linear album, without those radical changes, those extremes to which they were capable of reaching in their previous albums. Are You Ready, as we say, is a more conventional album, more to the use, in which they sail the seas of the purest Hard Rock, and from there they do not leave? Personally, this is bittersweet news, it makes me feel great, and not so good at the same time.

Let’s start with the not-so-good, don´t worry, I’ll finish soon. Degreed, especially in their last two albums, and mostly in Lost Generation, was a band that in the same album could make a pop ballad, or they could make a song at full speed, or they could make an eighties hard rock song, that made them different, varied, almost unique.

So much for the negative, negative to say the least. What happened with Degreed on Are You Ready that makes me feel great? That they have focused, and for a guy like me, who already has gray hair, extra kilos, in short, a certain age, the tranquility, the fact of not stumbling around, makes him feel good. Degreed in the 11 songs that they present us in Are You Ready, have opted for a hard rock full of melodies, very catchy songs, and at the same time maintaining what they are the best at, wonderful instrumental sections, full of body, strength, and energy.

“Into the Fire” is a great start, take chorus, take melodies, and take hard rock lesson. They already warn that we are not so transgressive, although we are still transgressive, we are getting older.

“Higher”, we continue with Hard Rock in its pure state, and with an incredible chorus lesson, all very well placed, not heavy, and very varied. Let’s see if you find that very FM touch, my movies, of a little chorus that is there in the middle, let’s see if you find it!

“Feed the Lie” brings a good thing, as will happen to Radio, which we’ll talk about later, and besides that, it already has a more Degreed sound, rhythm changes, punch, in that they are the only songs in which the bass is noticed, heard, heard, heard, bands of the world, so always, we want to hear the bass!

The seriousness, structure, its execution, those keyboards, very harmonious and solemn, those drums, with a lot of military march air, and those choruses, so serious, make of “Radio” the anthem of the album, the one before which you have to square yourself.

“Are You Ready”. Vertigo guitar solo, which ends with a duel, very usual in them, of keyboards and guitar fantastic. It is a very catchy song, and it ends as I like so much and that I would like them to do always, even if it is very repetitive, they do it so well, riff, riff, and more riff, with a punch.

“Burning”, I warn you, rest in the verses, because between the beginning, the bridges, the end, all very head bobbing, and the choruses, very high, you’re going to be out of breath.

“Falling Down” is a mountain stage of the Tour, one of those that they call the queen stage, you go so calm, downhill at the beginning, in the verses, you go so confident, that when the choruses come, the jump you give, the kick you get in your legs is worthy of mention. By the way, I love those crazy keyboards in the chorus. And while I’m talking about keyboards, I’m a bit confused about who the keyboard player is, I see the pictures, the style, comparing with their previous albums, and I even see the name, Mikael, and I would say it’s the same, but I always thought his last name was Jansson and now in the credits it says Blanc, can anyone help me?

“Lost in Paradise” if it wasn’t for the keyboards, so Degreed, so protagonist, and in this song, they are even more so, it would be the classic song of the album, it goes like clockwork, pam, pam, without many changes and with the punch.

“We Will Win” is a constant tension for the three and a half minutes it lasts. The riff, the drums, everything, are telling you, giving you clues, that a tsunami is coming, which explodes when those first “false” choruses turn into that cry We Will Win, just like a coffee pot starts to boil.

“Turn Back” and “Desire” are two very sweet, beautiful, tender mid-tempos, with the Van Halen-like keyboards of Turn Back!

And I don’t want to leave without talking about the musicians, the four of them, all of the great musicians who work together perfectly. They are all outstanding, they are very protagonists, the aggressive and catchy riffs of Daniel, the stratospheric keyboards of Mikael, the incredible voice and style of Robin, and the beast inside Mats, what a punch! and none stands out more than the one next to him, that’s why they are so good.

Great album, no doubt, this “Are You Ready” by Degreed, they have become more normal, and I’m so glad, I want another album now, guys!

List of songs from “Are You Ready” by DEGREED

Into the Fire
Feed the Lie
Are You Ready
Falling Down
Lost in Paradise
Turn Back
We Will Win

Degreed’s line-up

Robin Eriksson. Vocals and bass
Mats Eriksson, Drums.
Daniel Johansson. Guitar and backing vocals.
Mikael Blanc. Keyboards

Review by Ape Navarro


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