Graham Reid | | 1 min read
This outing follows a similar path to the previous Hellsongs album Hymns in the Key of 666 where metal songs were delivered in a quiet, almost pastoral manner or inna lounge style. A rather familiar route as I pointed out then.
This is not dissimilar: with a fine new vocalist (Siri Bergnehr), Sweden's Hellsong take material by Slayer, Meat Loaf, Guns'N Roses, Pantera, Wasp, Alice Cooper and other familiars and deliver them in a slightly country-rock/post-folk way with, it has to be said, very interesting arrangements.
And it is also rather good.
Meat Loaf's Heaven Can Wait (a little overlong, but that's in the nature of the songs he does) is a lively country foot-tapper, the slightly world weary Welcome to the Jungle comes to life over a sweet Nashville sound with steel guitar, Pantera's Walk is a moody piece with up-close vocals, Alice Cooper's School's Out comes with a jazzy Latin-flavoured horn section and hammering piano . . .
The sole original is Rubicon Crossings which is a pastoral piece with gentle whistling. It might not have sounded out of place on some neo-folk/alt.country album out of the UK or Midwest.
The real problem of course is that pretentious metal lyrics barked out over thunderous drums and nuclear-strength guitars tend to go right by you but here they are nakedly up front -- and some just sound like a mouthful, if not downright silly.
But as with that previous album, small pleasures and amusements to be had. And on the basis of Rubicon Crossings this outfit -- probably under another name -- have some real songwriting strengths of their own.
Unfortunately singer Bergnehr had a stroke late last year and the band have now broken up. So we shall have to see where the former members turn up in the future.
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