In HELLMOTEL, the next hopeful French underground band is finally gathering speed and releases an album that is up to every trick in “Hang Us Young”. The noisy combo that was formed from the remains of JUDOBOY in 2004 knows exactly what has to be done to create original and thrilling music. With the help of other musicians from local bands such as KUBOTA, RIGHT 4 LIFE or NO COMPROMISE, they created a work that can confidently be mentioned alongside established bands such as CONVERGE, THA CHARIOT, NORMA JEAN or BOTCH.
The debut is brutish, ferocious and highly technical and hardly lets the listener do anything else while listening to it but demands his full attention. Upon the first few spins it may seem like this causes a certain effort and the numerous tempo and rhythm changes are over the top, but the more you listen to “Hang Us Young”, the more comprehensible and outstanding the album gets. Besides the Hardcore influences, though, there is lots of room for some forays into Metal as well, and the Frenchmen aren’t even afraid of good Rock passages. As off-the-wall as “Shade And Cliché”, “Outlaw Texas Rangers” or “A New Saw: the Rustiest Tools” are, the groovy parts on “A Song For Young Revolted…” or the almost doomy heaviness of “A New Saw: Taste Of Broken Glass”, which is almost reminiscent of extraordinaires like CULT OF LUNA, are impressive to the same extent.
With “Interlude”, they build a short break towards the middle of the album, which is just right for talking a breath and gathering strength. The light acoustic strumming and the relaxed atmosphere can also be seen as the calm before the storm, as “Winter Cowboy” fires back and returns where the band feels most comfortable, in the innermost core of controlled chaos. The fact that „Hell Hot Cats“ is no exception should be obvious, and apart from the intense instrumentation, the often changing vocals are most striking. They range from harsh howling to screaming, but also from normal singing to spoken passages. “In A Hut With God” starts calm, but keeps on gathering momentum and lets go completely. Once again you get wild guitar duels, hectic drumming and psychopathic vocals until you start hoisting the white flag as a sign of capitulation. Exhausting, yes, over the top or without any concept, no, not at all.
The title of “Love Laziness” only does the song justice in the instrumental and relaxed mid-section, otherwise the band is not lazy on this son either but hits the throttle. As a closer, you get “…”, which is expressionless when it comes to the title and starts with light whistling and relaxed grooves, but then hits you in the face again. After a few calm minutes you get to hear some spherical sounds, before “Hang Us Young” ends and begs for a repeat more and more insistently. As I said, HELLMOTEL aren’t the epitome of simplicity, but if you take the time to get used to this French newcomer, you will really enjoy the eleven songs after a while. (Online September 25, 2006)