Published August 4, 2009
Although it occasionally shows I have a feeling I’m going to be in the minority here, but I’m going to throw it out there: Retrön may be boisterous, fun, energetic and charismatic live performers, but there really isn’t much interesting going on here, technically or musically. Sure, there’s the dumb fun aspect, and the bitzcore Nintendo awesomeness of POWERUP is nice, but the whole album rolls predictably through its repertoire of 80s-style metal, rarely speedy or variable enough to warrant much applause.
Retrön always sounded as a joke to me that started playing metal but with serious overacting, synths and a very ironic undertone.
On Swordplay and Guitarslay, they offer ten songs that sound somewhere between early Iron Maiden, a student band’s early demos and early Gameboy-midis. To get straight to the point: the songs are quite annoying, and there is not much to gloss over. The recording is lousy, the songs are nothing special at all and the synths really drive you up the wall. There is only light in two songs at the end of the record, songs that, by the way, feature vocal lines: Slow Me and Helgrindur are really good, rocking 70s stoner rock, that bring to mind Black Sabbath or Wolfmother.
It remains a mystery why they wasted the rest of the record….