Australian mob Hellions are nothing short of productive, with their latest record ‘Opera Oblivia’ being their third release in as many years. Their sound is hard to pigeonhole into a specific genre, fusing elements of post-hardcore, punk, and progressive shoutiness into a mixing pot full of variation and inventiveness.
No more is this evident than on opening track ’24’, which captures a pop-punky tune with bouncy guitar riffs and gang vocals during the chorus, although the track does conclude with a gentle triangle twinkling coupled with some floaty vocals showcasing the diverse nature of the band. Compare this to ‘Quality Of Life’, with its incredibly riff-heavy grooves, decent-sized breakdowns, and tremendously hooky chorus, and it’s clear that Hellions are spreading their (arguably more melodic) music to a far wider audience than ever before.
The band shift perspective throughout ‘Lotus Eater’, demonstrating an eerily haunting atmosphere and slowing the pace significantly. This emotive standpoint continues through ‘He Without Sin – Halation’, which is pretty much straight up melodic hardcore with flourishes of punk through the chorus sections. Vocalist Dre Faivre delivers a standout performance, with some disturbing lyrical content relating to sexual assault and molestation that gives this tune a different platform to standard hardcore fare. While the vocals convey a serious and morose tone to them, the guitar interplay between Matthew Gravolin and Josh Campiaois shows a more melodic aspect.
But, it’s not long before Hellions whips the listener back into action again. ‘Nightliner Rhapsody’ has a catchy chorus that is custom made for the live environment, incorporating some decent staccato guitar riffing in the solo sections that give a bit of extra technicality and groove, while ’25’ sounds like pure My Chemical Romance worship with an underlying sense of euphoria for the whole of its duration.
Combining the finer elements of bands such as Every Time I Die and A Day To Remember, Hellions have mixed aggressiveness, melody, groove, and attitude, resulting in one of the better hardcore records so far this year. Quite how far they can continue to push their boundaries is unknown, but on ‘Opera Oblivia’ they’ve opened more doors in which to pursue their musical direction.
Written by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)