The Swedish Heavy Metalheads HELLFUELED are already releasing their fourth full-length with this album. Still, a fair deal of the discussions have circled around if they can match the success of genre-brethren MUSTASCH, as these two bands have some similarities in their sound.
What first thing that strikes you about HELLFUELED’s music is that relies on a deep bass and crushes its way forward with a heavy beat. The sound production does lend softness to this basic sound though, which takes away some edges that could have given the album a more aggressive image.
The second thing that strikes you is that the comparisons to MUSTASCH are relevant. Vocalist Andy Alkman has a nasal and stretched-out voice that resembles that of Ralf Gyllenhammar quite a bit. Alkman’s vocals do however lack the greatest strength of Gyllenhammar’s, namely the passion. This contributes to the biggest problem of this album. The songs are fairly similar and roll on in the same thundering mid-tempo and even if everything is well-executed, it soon gets tiring. Alkman’s lack of vocal variation is also a bit tiring, as he never does anything surprising and has a voice that I am not really fond of from the beginning.
The melody-making could also have been better. The main problem is that the production hides the melodies that are there in a cloud of bass and heavy rhythm guitars. Therefore, I appreciate the songs that break this pattern a bit. My favourite track on the album is actually the experimenting, instrumental closer “Moving On”. It features a different guitar sound and has a slightly electronic production and stands out quite a bit. When the lead guitar is released fully here, it also results in a more challenging and interesting listening experience. “In Anger” also strays a bit from the ever so dominant bass thunder, while “Save Me” or the opener “Where Angels Die” is the best song in the album’s main style.
Song by song, HELLFUELED have done nothing wrong, yet when you make an album, the whole experience has to be in focus. The songs on this album neutralize each others’ quality a bit, by being too similar. “Moving On” is worth to check out though and fans of MUSTASCH and similar bands in the modern Heavy Metal community may be more indulgent than I am concerning the lack of variation.
(Online March 9, 2010)