“Lead To Hell” is the debut, self-produced album from Brazilian rockers HELLTOWN. The style of the album harkens back to the glory days of Metal, with raw, raunchy guitars, energetic drums, and high-pitched singing. Mmm, you can almost taste the denim and leather.
For the most part, “Lead To Hell” is a very well-put-together album, but it’s marred by one crucial aspect: singer Symone Syann. Her high notes are shrill, earsplitting, and more often than not, off-key. Oh, she’s a perfectly competent mid-range singer, but she goes for the high notes so often that any semblance of comfort established by her deceptive “normal” singing is obliterated by her excruciating “high” singing.
Horrible singer aside, the songs on “Lead To Hell” are catchy, upbeat, and energetic. This is Metal you can just cheer along to, fist in the air, watching the band knock out riff after awesome riff. The first half of the album is kind of weak, but things suddenly become stellar with the song “Helltown”, and things just get better from there with the title track and “High Than You,” as well as several other album highlights.
If Syann were to learn how to sing properly, then HELLTOWN would be a surefire force to be reckoned with. “Lead To Hell” proves that they can write killer songs, and it’s a shame to hear them ruined a bit by the vocalist. I’ll be looking forward to their second album, which will no doubt be an improvement over this one.
(Online November 6, 2007)