As I rolled through Corroded’s Exit to Transfer, a funny thing happened: I actually enjoyed it.
Now, an explanation is in order. Corroded’s second album is formulaic and jam-packed with clichés. This usually doesn’t do the trick, but sincerity and flat-out unapologetic rock trumps a lot of things in this day and age. Whereas some acts try to pawn banalities off as novelty, there’s something for the utter commitment found on Exit to Transfer that makes it susceptible to all sorts of air guitar awesomeness.
Corroded is from Sweden, which is unexpected given the brand of raw American bar rock they practice. There are influences galore and they’re easy to pick out, from Van Halen-kissed riffs to Alice In Chains-inspired vocal arrangements.
In terms of lyrical content, there’s nothing overwhelming here. Vocalist and guitarist Jens Westin is a skilled frontman and he knows how to ride out the riffs and sheer magnitude of Corroded’s way of the world. He doesn’t appear to be a show-stealer, blending in nicely to the working-class rock these dudes are good at.
That sensibility, coupled with the pledge to rock, sticks Corroded well above similar bands. These four dudes take the Staind/Nickelback/Creed outline of innocuous, predictable music and make it good.
So far, it may not sound like a resounding argument for the rock to be found on Exit to Transfer. The fix is in turning the dial up to 11 for the roaring drums and heavy, off-kilter riffage to be found on “Age of Rage,” the first cut. Everything sounds familiar, but Corroded’s promise to push it just a little further makes up for the lack of innovation.
Or take “The One.” The Disturbed influences run all the way through it, sure, but Westin’s incongruously cadenced delivery is a step above David Draiman’s and the song pulls together more firmly.
Fans that normally shudder at the sight of the aforementioned inspirations and contrasts may not be converted yet, but the utterly fun “Piece by Piece” could be the track to change hearts and minds. Featuring one of the most addictive and purely catchy rock choruses of the year, this track had me air-drumming all over the place.
So yeah, Exit to Transfer works when it perhaps shouldn’t. And yeah, Corroded accomplishes the best turn of American hard rock I’ve heard in a long, long time. For music that makes you smile and go wild, I’ll take these crazy Swedes any day of the week.