Australian outfit Hellions are an odd bunch to categorise. Perhaps due to the constant requirement of the industry to pigeonhole a band into a certain style, they’ve felt that it’s their mission to veer in the opposite direction to create obtuse music to cater for as many people as is humanly possible.
However, whereas their previous release 2016’s ‘Opera Oblivia’ displayed a brilliant mix of post-hardcore and alternative rock, unfortunately it would seem that Hellions have ran out of ideas, resulting in an extremely watered down record that strays between pop-punk and pop-rock, and lacking any sort of intensity and drive.
The album starts with good intent with ‘Odyssey’; delivering a cool harmonic guitar tone segueing into a playful and melodic chorus. The verses pop with quick-tempo rap from vocalist Dre Faivre, and combines with that melodic chorus to create something that follows on closely from ‘Opera Oblivia’.
But, things soon start to go downhill in quality. ‘X (Mwah)’ doesn’t need too much of an introduction (just look at that song title) and is confirmed when listening to it; the boy band harmonies are an instant put-off. ‘Furrow’ has a laid-back intro and does contain elements that are a bit moodier, giving it a bit of diversity, although the emotively saccharine chorus reminds you of a lighter Kid Rock, and the world really doesn’t need that.
It’s frustrating that the consistency of this record is so up and down, as ‘Smile’, with its anthemic Blink-182 worship, and ‘Get Up!’, which includes the catchiest material on this release alongside staccato guitar work during the verses, show some decent quality. The latter has a sing-along chorus that many bands would envy, and should transfer well to the live environment. More patchiness arrives in the form of 80s disco effort ‘The Lotus’, while ’26’ produces a grandstand finish that overstates what has come before it.
With a few interludes that aren’t particularly warranted and only serve to break up what little momentum there is, no real bite to the music, and a linear direction in terms of pace and uniqueness that’s unlike their past material, Hellions have succeeded in breaking convention and doing the opposite again.
If you try hard enough, there are some brief flashes of quality throughout ‘Rue’, but if it ain’t broke…
After getting into alternative music during the mid 90s with the rise of nu-metal and pop-punk, I’ve gradually spread my interests far and wide and have a real love for metalcore, prog metal and tech metal. Amongst other things, I am a husband, father of two amazing kids, heavy metal DJ, and video game/book/nerd enthusiast!