Dregen – Dregen (2013) Anniversary Review


This year marks the 10th anniversary of Dregen’s (Backyard Babies and The Hellacopters guitarist) first and only solo album release, which gives us a great opportunity to revisit this release once again. The original album review was published on our website back in the day, and now, with an English translation of the original text, after all this time, we have only one question: Does this album hold up?

Simply put, “the man himself explained some things”! In principle, the now universal and well-known extended phrase can also be used for this debut by Andreas Tyrone Svensson, better known as Dregen. “My Lord Sweet Satan,” I asked myself and pondered, would the iconic face of Backyard Babies be able to bear the overall burden and launch something worthy of ear attention into the sonic orbit? I must admit that upon first listen, my conclusion was: “That’s it, that’s it, rock ‘n’ roll to the bone!” Raw energy constantly flows and pours from song to song, dominating throughout the thirty-four-minute album.

The hypnotic sound can be characterized as an ideal blend or a sort of syllabus of rock history, encompassing genres that constitute it. Therefore, through these ten tracks, you can hear hard rock, rock ‘n’ roll, sleaze rock, punk rock, glam rock, garage rock, blues, country…

However, what impresses me the most is the approach to sound, or how something so simple can sound so good and powerful at the same time! This is skillfully expressed and justified through excellent and polished musicianship (from the players to the vocalist), great arrangements, and the use of what could be called cheap but effective tricks and gimmicks. As an example, we can mention Keith Richards’ guitar playing style (which I personally adore), the use of piano that, through playing just one key or even simple whistling, can elevate the song to a higher level than the existing one and add a completely different dimension. I must also highlight some personal favorites from this album: “Just Like That” (the first song to receive a music video) urges immediate knee movement, “Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road” definitely goes well with some chill time and a good cigar, than we have “Pink Hearse” which is perfect for a Friday night mood. I would also mention “6 Till 10,” “Mojo’s Gone,” and “One Man Army” (which irresistibly reminds me of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy”).

One thing is certain, and that is that this album is dominated by tremendous creativity that Dregen drew upon while playing and building a career with Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters, and collaborating with a name and legend like Michael Monroe. Dregen definitely has a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips, which doesn’t hinder or restrict him from using all ten of them to achieve such a perfect combination and unity in both musical and lyrical sense. I give such a fine combination and unity a solid five out of five, with an additional well-deserved plus sign, and I warmly recommend it to everyone. This dose of energy will certainly come in handy and warm you up during the upcoming winter days, while also making you sweat profusely during the summer.

In conclusion, do knees still move to a song like “Just Like That”? Does that riff in “Divisions of Me” still makes you press the gas up to the maximum? Does Satan still live between the lines of “Flat Tyre on a Muddy Road”? Hell yeah. Everything that was said back then still resonates today and the album holds up remarkably well. Sonically, the album possesses a pre-new wave of classic rock sound that sets it apart. Dregen’s innovative approach and creativity shine through, making the album not only relevant but also ahead of its time. It can definitely be considered a timeless classic and a perfect hidden gem for true lovers of this genre of music and Dregen’s work as well.

Does the album hold up to this day? Undoubtedly, yes. Its impact and resonance have not faded over time, and it continues to deliver an exhilarating experience. In fact, it serves as a reminder of the incredible talent and musical prowess of Dregen himself. Do we need another one like this from the man himself? Yes, we think it’s time for Dregen Vol. 2, for sure!

In the meantime, Dregen has released two albums with Backyard Babies: Four by Four (2015) and Sliver and Gold (2019), as well as the most recent album Eyes of Oblivion with The Hellacopters.

You can also check out our concert review of The Hellacopters’ performance at this years Bergenfest.

Original text: Dušan Perović

2023 edit: JP

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