Here’s ALLHELLUJA’s sophomore album, after 2005’s “Inferno Museum.” Having never heard their debut, I honestly can’t tell if the Italians (minus Danish vocalist Jacob Bredahl of HATESPHERE) have grown at all, but I hope they haven’t; if this is more mature, better-planned, more intelligent, any of the things that sophomore albums usually are, then “Inferno Museum” must be a real turd.
The biggest surprise on this album is that the band is not American. Simplistic, aggressive Modern Metal is as American as apple pie, baseball and Manifest Destiny. But I suppose my ideas are old fashioned, as the style seems to be catching on in Europe. It’s unfortunate, because the style lacks any depth. The down-tuned guitars concentrate on power chords, the bass is inaudible and everything is simplistic. Occasionally the band wanders into Hard or maybe Stoner Rock territory, as in the beginning of “Hell On Earth,” but they quickly leave. There’s a minimum of instrumental acumen on display; the album’s dynamism is therefore shifted to Bredahl, which isn’t a very good choice. Bredahl’s Hardcore-ish shout is occasionally supplemented by an honest Death growl and he does sing a little out of his normal range in the verses (if I can call them that) of “Big Money, Sweet Money,” so it’s not quite as monotonous as some bands, but it’s still not good.
If you don’t have a feeling of doom after the first song, “Superhero Motherfucking Superman” (I feel violated typing that), with its absurd repetition and rain-puddle shallowness will stop you dead in your tracks. This is possibly the worst song I’ve had the misfortune to hear all year. No other song sticks out of the morass of non-committal testosterone-driven posturing, but this one is really bad. I suppose if you thought LIMP BIZKIT had too much rapping, HATEBREED was too heavy and KORN was too commercial you might get a kick out of “Pain Is The Game,” but it won’t have much of a wider appeal.
Random thoughts: Jacod Bredahl is incapable of a normal pose for a picture. He’s always mugging in the silliest ways. Whoever compared these guys to BLACK SABBATH needs to publically abdicate any remaining credibility. Also, it seems that a lot of other zines have loved this album, so take my word with a grain of salt.
(Online November 19, 2006)