Frontiers Records [Release Date 04.09.20]
Hell in the Club, whose latest album is remarkably their fifth, are one of the few bands on Frontiers Records huge roster that are actually from their native Italy- even if band members have adopted the most English of aliases such as Andy, Mark and Dave.
The first impression is of a melange of different styles and influences with a raw and endearingly home gown feel. Opener ‘We’ll Never Leave the Castle’ boasts massive hooks on both bridge and chorus that call to mind Reckless Love, let down only by the rather cluttered everything but the kitchen sink production that characterises the album.
However it is far from a typical song. ‘Worse Case Scenario’ is altogether grittier, a slightly disjointed song getting there eventually by the chorus and ‘Here Today Gone Tomorrow’ one of a few songs that go in a heavier direction, reflecting the roots of band members previous outfits.
Both ‘Joker’ and the sleazy ‘No Room in Hell’ have strong Motley Crue influences, also reflected in the Dr Feelgood like intro to ‘Last of a Dying Kind’, one of my favourites on the album which has a catchy feel reminding me of Scandinavian contemporaries like Ammunition and Crazy Lixx.
‘Nostalgia’ – with synths that are described in the credits as ‘80’s keyboards’ and lyrics to match- nevertheless is a bit disjointed as a song, and both ‘Mr Grouch’, where a melody struggles to merge from a messy song, and ‘Tokyo Lights’ have rather too much going on. The overall impression is that they are not quite at the level of contemporaries as Crashdiet in honing and refining their chosen style.
However the album is pleasingly diverse and they can make different styles work effectively – from the ballad ‘Lullaby for an Angel’, where the chorus is very Bon Jovi or Poison-esque, and closer ‘Lucifer’s Magic’ with the power metal feel of a Priest or Primal Fear.
It’s a bundle of contrasting and not always complementary styles, but an exuberantly fun listen that will grow on you. *** 3/4
Review by Andy Nathan
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