Thursday, September 7, 2017

Album Review: Hell In The Club - See You On The Dark Side

I'm not quite sure why the 80s have been getting recycled so much lately, but it seems that every week there's another record coming out claiming influence from that decade. Let's be honest, while there were some classic records that came out back then, it was also a time when rock and metal were finding themselves, and the albums we remember are as much because they were first as because they were good. Songwriting has evolved greatly since then, to the point where albums that successfully rehash the 80s sound *cough*Jorn*cough* simply aren't good enough. That's why when Hell In The Club says they are at least trying to fuse together everything that came from that decade, rather than just one sound, it gives me some hope.

The best thing Hell In The Club has going for them is that they want to have fun. If there's a single thing about the 80s that's worth copying, it's that feeling. Whether it was the Sunset Strip or the world stage, rock and metal bands were partying and having a good time as they set the world on fire. Today, everything is far too dour and miserable, so good time rock and roll is more than welcome.

The opening track, "We Are On Fire", is all that and more. It's got enough heaviness in the riffs, but the energy is infectious. It moves along with a bouncing rhythm, and then the chorus is a stack of gang vocals that are right out of the glory days. In less than three minutes, the band has given us good riffs and a great hook, which is all you need to succeed.

The first three tracks show that off, each a different take on their melodic hard rock, but each packing a memorable hook. There's the short and sweet blitz, the more relaxed hard rock, and an acoustic backdrop to a slightly country feeling. Those little bits of diversity go a long way, even on a record that isn't that long. "I Wanna Swing Like Peter Parker" and "Houston We've Got No Money" lack that, and they do slow down the record's momentum.

"A Melody, A Memory" picks things back up, with not just a sweet hook, but a section in the middle with overlapping counterpoint melodies, which certainly makes the song stand out in the midst of the album. Considering that I hate Def Leppard, I'm not too hot on "Showtime", which is the most Leppard-esque song on the album. I know they were huge, and influenced a lot of bands, but they annoy the hell out of me, and hearing tinges of them in a song is sure to kill it for me.

But overall, Hell In The Club has made a record that zips along with a sense of fun that is a nice change of pace from much of the music I have the opportunity to hear. It's not quite at the level of label-mates Eclipse or Harem Scarem, who both released excellent albums this year, but "See You On The Dark Side" is an enjoyable album that more than holds its own.

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