Ronnie Atkins – Make It Count (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 54:17 minutes | 649 MB | Genre: Hard Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Frontiers Records s.r.l.
As frontman with Swedish hard rock legends PRETTY MAIDS, Ronnie Atkins is already a legend several times over, but none of his past achievements come close to the marvel of his ongoing solo career, launched in the wake of an incurable cancer diagnosis. “Make It Count” loudly proclaims that Atkins is very much still with us and, as was evident on 2020’s “One Shot”, on exceptional form as both a singer and songwriter. Frankly, the man is a fucking hero.
The formula remains the same: huge, euphoric melodic rock anthems, tinged with a certain wistfulness but both lyrically and musically defiant. Opener “I’ve Hurt Myself (By Hurting You)” pulls out all the stops, hitting the AOR bullseye with ease, but also showcasing a warm and organic sound that shrewdly swerves the sterility of much modern melodic rock. Atkins’s voice is, as ever, the perfect mixture of grit, soul and hard rock swagger, and he sells each song as if it’s the single most important moment on the record. As it is, there are some obvious highlights here: “The Tracks We Leave Behind” is bombastic but poignant in equal amounts; “All I Ask Of You” goes harder and heavier, weaving giant hooks through a jagged-edge, prog-metal barrage; “Blood Cries Out” motors like ’80s BLACK SABBATH gone symphonic, and boasts a particularly fiery vocal from the man himself.
We can forgive Atkins the cornball schmaltz of “Let Love Lead The Way”, not least because melodic rock teeters perpetually on the edge of such things. Much better is “Easier To Leave (Than Being Left Behind)” , a fabulous piece of epic power-pop with shades of BOSTON, and a chorus that would be magnificent in any context, but which is potentially emotionally ruinous here. Somehow even more affecting, the closing title track places Atkins’s voice amid a sumptuous, quasi-orchestral arrangement, as he urges everyone listening to seize the day and live life to the absolute fullest. When the inevitable huge chorus breaks out, it’s a joyful and nourishing thing, much like Atkins’s solo work in general. Long may it continue.
01. Ronnie Atkins – I’ve Hurt Myself (By Hurting You) (05:21)
02. Ronnie Atkins – Unsung Heroes (04:18)
03. Ronnie Atkins – Rising Tide (04:43)
04. Ronnie Atkins – Remain to Remind Me (03:54)
05. Ronnie Atkins – The Tracks We Leave Behind (04:28)
06. Ronnie Atkins – All I Ask of You (04:13)
07. Ronnie Atkins – Grace (03:25)
08. Ronnie Atkins – Let Love Lead the Way (05:16)
09. Ronnie Atkins – Blood Cries Out (04:19)
10. Ronnie Atkins – Easier to Leave (Than Being Left Behind) (03:42)
11. Ronnie Atkins – Fallen (04:47)
12. Ronnie Atkins – Make It Count (05:45)