Hell in the Club, ‘Hell of Fame’ (album) review
Italy’s hard rock band Hell in the Club have released another stonker of an album just begging for you to hear it. This is their fifth release since they formed in 2009 and each album has been met with praise and acclaim and strengthened their fanbase. ‘Hell of Fame’ is out now via Frontiers Italy. Take a look at what I thought below.
‘We’ll Never Leave the Castle’ is a multi-faceted anthemic rock track with a rolling riff which gets under your skin but…it’s a tad generic, in that it could be anyone and it doesn’t quite capture and retain my attention in the way I expect a HITC track would. There’s the usual lovely cadence and skilled musicianship but there’s just something lacking for me. Maybe it’s partly because it contains words I loathe to hear in a song; “it’s now or never”.
‘Worst Case Scenario’ however wipes away any doubt with a carefree hand and a f* you. A heavier song with a deeper bass sound, it’s punchy and has a rousing chorus and searing guitars, and the whole track is pure singalong. Welcome back, my friend.
‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ is a cheeky number with a sleazy, higher vocal, that kicks me in the ass. The vocals are crisp and clean and so melodic they seem to float through the headphones.
‘Joker’ sounds familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on why… There is a deliciously decadent instrumental at around 2 and a half minutes and this track gets better with every listen so check it out.
‘Last of an Undying Kind’ is hot and heavy, altogether darker and lures me in. With those customary gang vocals, both music and lyrics are compelling, evocative and perfectly in sync. The deep rumble of the bass adds drama and tension.
‘Nostalgia’ starts off exciting the hell out of me, the vocals soar, and there are lots of clever little intricacies in the layering coming through my headphones, but that pulsing riff promised more than I feel I got in the end. I wanted a bit more from this track, a bit more depth and I didn’t feel I took the journey the intro suggested. Still a great track though! That’s sometimes the case with great bands, you expect something “otherworldy” even though it’s still a great song and you can’t get past that.
I don’t often do ballads and ‘Lullaby for an Angel’ is sweet, but it’s a little too much for me, and comparisons could be made to a Bon Jovi ballad. There’s gentle breathy intro – I much prefer when he fully commits the force of his vocal as he does later in the song. A good listen but not my cup of tea.
‘Mr Grouch’ – well now, yes please. This track pounds in my skull from the off, fast and furious, repetitive and fun. I have a sneaky feeling this will be a crowd favourite in a live show. There’s an awesome guitar solo, just long enough to break it up and not labour the point. This is definitely one of my favourites on the album.
‘No Room in Hell’ has intrigue and drama, beautifully powerful harmonies, and a stunning guitar solo. This track is everything I love about HITC in one song! Fact.
‘Tokyo Lights’ is more of a classic, melodic rock song, an addictive track that has become a staple for me in most playlists now. It might not be a fire starter but it’s a solid, catchy and likeable song that I just love to listen to.
The piece de resistance is the final track, ‘Lucifer’s Magic’, which starts off like it might be a power ballad but… switches up and goes a whole lot darker and a little theatrical. The intensity of the music guides the way, the vocals are sublime, and this is a sensory experience which consumes me. It’s a feast of a track which keeps you on the edge of your seat and invested throughout and begs for the repeat button. Magical indeed.
This album is a delightful mix of dramatization and mystery, fabulous harmonies and demonstrates the power of music in helping tell a story, and not just relying on a killer vocal. It’s intricate, multifarious and cool as hell. I have to agree with myself from 2017, when reviewing their last album ‘See You on the Dark Side’: “a killer album from a well-respected, accomplished and consistent band”. Well said, me. It’s out now so what are you waiting for….
Standout tracks: Lucifer’s Magic, No Room in Hell
For more information check out their website https://www.hellintheclub.com/