KILLER BEE – Prepare To Be Stung
March 7, 2017, a year ago
Who is Killer Bee you may ask?
That’s a great question.
Somehow, this kick ass Swedish melodic rock band has miraculously flown under the radar here in North America for the past two decades. With a few small pockets of fandom on this continent, the majority of rock fans here are unaware of this band’s highly-infectious and melodious craft.
On its seventh full-length album, Eye In the Sky (released Oct. 14th, 2016 via Mighty Music), the band blends loads of catchy choruses, contagious hooks and edgy rock riffs. However, the essential ingredient of the band’s sound is the Hammond organ, which gives off hints of Deep Purple and early-era Rainbow.
Formed in 1990, mainstays vocalist Brian "BEE" Frank and bassist Anders “LA” Rönnblom went on a decent seven-year run that saw it performing at many top-notch European festivals alongside mammoth bands such as Page & Plant, Slash’s Snakepit and Megadeth, to name a few.
However, in 1997 the band was forced into a brief hiatus, which actually ended up lasting 14 years.
Brian "BEE" Frank explained the band’s unfortunate circumstances.
“In 1997, we had an incident where we had a promoter/agent/manager/whatever… blah, blah, blah, down in Switzerland, who turned out to be a guy who was slightly less than honest,” Frank begins. “We found ourselves on tour in Europe when all of a sudden the police from the country we were in, Germany I think, came to the hotel and proceeded to tell us this so-and-so guy has gotten around the world (swindling) up to 6 million Swiss francs. (The police said) ‘We have to impound your bus and your equipment,’ and left all of our stuff on the side of the highway. So we decided to take a break. Well, it turned into 14 years!”
In 2011, convinced that it never got a fair shake in the ’90s, Killer Bee released a compilation album entitled Almost There, which received bucket loads of kudos from its longtime fans.
This meant that Killer Bee was back in business.
However, it wasn’t until the band’s 2012 official comeback album, From Hell And Back, that Killer Bee rediscovered itself.
“Of course when you’re doing a comeback, you want to show people that you still got the balls and that you’re not going to go folk music!” Frank jested. “The first album when you’re coming back, you’re full of piss and vinegar. Then Evolutionary Children (2013) came out and it was a progression From Hell And Back. But now, I think we found our way back to our ’90s roots with Eye In The Sky.”
Although the band has had a somewhat lengthy career, Killer Bee hasn’t gotten the recognition they actually deserve, especially here in North America.
“Sure, you feel that way and you have to think, why?” Frank said. “We’ve been going for so long; the reviews we get are always positive, our fans like our music, we’ve had great responses and we’ve played major concerts through the ’90s with some of the biggest bands in the world. But for some reason, it just gets pushed to the wayside. And yeah, you get frustrated sometimes. You just do what you love to do and keep on doing it, and hopefully people like it as well.”
The band’s melodious blend of ’70s rock — á la Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and Scorpions — with ’80s metal in the vein of Guns N’ Roses, Helix and Skid Row, Killer Bee delivers their well-crafted style with a fresh and modern twist.
However, it’s the combination of that glorious Hammond organ and Frank’s killer Alice Cooper meets Klaus Meine-tinged vocals that gets the listener’s attention, most notably on tracks “Higher And Higher” and “Shout It Out”.
“I’d been a big fan of the Hammond organ all my life,” Frank confessed. “And we’re so lucky to have Denny Demarchi, who’s played in so many great bands in his career. For this album, I said to the guys that I really wanted to focus on the Hammond. I really want people to understand what it is we’re doing. We’re not using it as a background instrument, I want it to be more upfront. It has a very welcomed place in our music and I’m glad it’s there.”
The rest of the tracks that complete Eye In the Sky also have equal amounts of tastiness. The title track in particular has a balanced mix of that ’80s glam metal and ’70s rock I mentioned earlier.
Plus, the song’s powerful message really hits home, especially in this current digital age.
“Everybody’s got an eye on you now, so be careful what you do,” Frank warned. “It’s about all the surveillance. How many CCTV cameras are there in London for example? You’re under the eye now and there’s nothing you can do about. There’s cameras on the side of the highway or even the fact that who’s going to need cash in the future. I love the day where we had a telephone booth and you threw in a dime and made the phone call!”