Hellsongs – These Are Evil Times (2013)

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I never heard of this band before and, due to their handle and title of their latest album, I was expecting to be struck in the face by a blast of doom metal that would destroy my ears and soul. So what a surprise it was to discover These Are Evil Times (Tapete Records) is not the devil incarnate but a sharply produced collection of melody-minted musings resting pretty much on the sunshine pop axis.

After spinning the disc, I read the accompanying press piece, and lo and behold, Hellsongs are no strangers to the heavy stuff. The Swedish band has actually made a credible name for themselves playing offbeat versions of hard rock anthems.

Hellsongs announce their loyalty to their roots on the first track of the album, which is an insanely cheery treatment of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” that sounds like the Archies getting it on with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Truly remarkable!

The pop euphoria continues with tunes such as the slightly disco-laced “Engle,” the glittery lure of “A Silence So Loud” and the skipping pulsations of “Equality,” which shivers with hope and optimism. Smothered in a sparkling stew of soothing and angelic harmonies, attended by crisp and clean arrangements and hooks that just keep coming, these digging ditties possess radio-friendly qualities by the pound.

But all is not peachy keen in the world of Hellsongs, as “Eyemaster” emits a bleak and solemn temper. Relatively recalling Pink Floyd, the piano-based downer is chillingly mesmerizing. Another piano-oriented number on These Are Evil Times is “Music Took My Life,” which celebrates the joy of music and its life-changing effects.

Resourceful and twisted in a cheeky sort of way, These Are Evil Times will certainly appeal to those appreciative of the poppier edge of the spectrum. I now consider myself an avowed advocate of Hellsongs and look forward to their next adventure!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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