Review | The Gems – The Gems
2023 saw a huge shift in the lineup of established Swedish all female rockers Thundermother with the departure of vocalist Guernica Mancini, drummer Emlee Johansson and bass player/guitarist Mona `Demona’ Lindgren, of which the first have been defining the band’s sound since 2017. Both present during the rise of the band, they pack huge chops on the band’s last 3 acclaimed album releases. 2023 marks the departure of both icons with their bass player ‘Demona’ joining them on the way out. As proven in history, musical cell deviation leads to two bands to keep your eyes and ears skinned for, and this power-trio founding The Gems is no exception to the rule.
A STRONG BLUESY TONE
Strapping on her guitar Lindgren proves insane qualities as a player on six-string with The Gems immediately setting the record straight: they were the Thundering Mothers of their past band. The Gems put a smile on my face immediately with the opening ,,Aurora” interlude, opening with a thundering storm fragment and Guernica ‘chanting’ narrated lyrics with a strong bluesy tone winking at their past; “When the storm is raging, we dance in the rain…” and the tongue in cheek remark “…thunder and lightning won’t put out our flame, we’ll dance in the rain ‘til the sun is shining again”, captivates the rise of The Gems!
,,Queens” is an all saying exclamation point that emphasizes their stride “…queens will stick together”, with some shootouts to loyalty and faithful standings. The songs opening lick is a wordplay to Queen’s (yes indeed) ,,Tie Your Mother Down”, indisputably addressing their previous family, or am I wrong?
A POWER TRIO
Some will certainly mark this as unnecessary, but I personally think this is their musical resolution putting their past into perspective. And they do that, in an extremely powerful way, unloading serious swagger and musical prowess. `The Gems’ is the debut album immediately putting this power trio on the map, clamping down on their past and their influences in a wonderful way. Picking up their stride with wonderful dynamic drum opening, The Gems enter 60s hard rock terrain with ,,Send Me to the Wolves” with pulsating urging throb, and ‘Demona’ laying down some wonderful guitar melodies and lick. The drums are powerful, steadily grooving with sublime fills while Guernica belts deep.
She has an impressive range to draw from and she echoes fiercely, touching deep to convey their stride. This stride is felt over a lot of the lyrical content on this debut, with ,,Like a Phoenix” formatting the band’s rise from the ashes. Urging guitar hooks pull forward over rural drum poise with sirens calling and a Hammond welling in the back. The chorus is astonishing, the vocal outcry memorable!
RAW CLASSIC ROCK
Going in all bluesy The Gems deliver their raucous raw classic rock with enormous vim and vigor. Drums and bass keep ploughing the grooves for the urging guitars of Demona, like on the stagnant ,,Domino”. Steering into melodic rock The Gems display their intensity laying down memorable hooks and melodies. ,,Undiscovered Paths” nests right away with Mancini moaning towards the wailing chorus. The instrumental short rifts are just wonderful, revisiting Cream and Cactus’ intricate musical bliss. The harmonies are slick and the end of the song dies out with wonderful triple vocal harmonies.
This classic hard rocking power is also unloaded on the throbbing ,,Kiss it Goodbye” that packs a glorious fist pumping heaviness full of brawling riffs and raining licks underneath the overpowering vocals.
ROARING PARTY CRACKERS
Adding some more fuel, The Gems breath fire on the roaring party crackers ,,Silver Tongue” with its jagged riffs and drum kicks and fills, and ,,P.S.Y.C.H.O” with its furious drum opening and scorching guitar lick. Bass thundering low while Guernica roars her pipes, flexing her voice around the raw energy discharged by the drum ‘n guitar interplay. It is all packing tremendous energy with a slightly neurotic party element, somewhat reminiscent to old skool Mötley Crüe and (even more so) Hanoï Rocks. The progressive drum kicks in ,,Running” make for serious magic with Guernica rapping out some of her lyrics, falling back into her most powerful melodic unload for the haunting melodic chorus.
Like Thin Lizzy on steroids The Gems roll into the rumpus ,,Force of Nature”. Furious kicked drums and distorted guitars lead the way, while the bass chords are towering with an urging pace. Vocals pack tremendous energy with towering echo (a la Maiden’s Dickinson) and dual layered vocal interaction.
HEARTACHE AND HEARTFELT
Enchanting is the short melancholic ,,Maria’s Song”, build around a weeping violin atop grieving strings, building into the ravishing gutted ,,Ease the Pain” full of emotional discharge. Mona’s guitar is crying in agony pitching a wonderful solo with piercing accolades. The melodies are unleashing tremendous heartache with Mancini laying down her most luring vocal agony, injecting pain and sorrow. This heartfelt wail is also present in the amazing ,,Fruits of My Labour”. Double kicked drums and raw guitars propel the song with Guernica displaying her tremendous vocal power. The song is the perfect homerun-hit for The Gems’ self-titled debut which bears all sings for a band fighting back to leave the past behind them.
The acoustic rendition of the video-hit ,,Like a Phoenix” is the treat raising expectations for their creativity. It is stripped to its essence with foot stamping, tambourine and lush guitars evoking a campfire atmosphere with Americana and bar ‘n grill appeal.
THE GEMS – THE CONCLUSION
The Gems’ self-titled debut is an album outshining Thundermothers’ best efforts, emphasizing the trio’s musical outcall rising above. All three put their mark on the music with intense interplay and elemental hard rocking persona swirling into an orbiting tornado that will rage onstage, raising the roof of clubs and venues on tour. This band packs serious swagger and `The Gems’ is raising the bar as much as it clamps down on hard rock history in general. The ‘must have’ record of 2024!
Release date: 26 January 2024