Album Releases Album Reviews

Hell In The Club – Shadow of the Monster Review

Release by: Scarlet Records

Release date: 22 January 2016

Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal

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Dave – Vocals

Andy – Bass

Picco – Guitar

Lancs – Drums


Track Listing:

01. DANCE!

02. Enjoy the Ride

03. Hell Sweet Hell

04. Shadow of the Monster

05. The Life & Death of Mr. Nobody

06. Appetite

07. Naked

08. Le Cirque des Horreurs

09. Try Me, Hate Me

10. Money Changes Everything


A rousing chorus of “I wanna dance, dance to the sound / Rock this place into the ground” sets the tone right from the off in the opening track, “DANCE!”, on the third album from Hell In The Club, a group made up of members from Italian bands such as Elvenking and Secret Sphere. With the band proudly wearing their Eighties influences on their sleeve with references to ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Masters of the Universe’ and ‘Michael J’ in Track 1 alone, this feelgood album cannot fail to raise a smile from the listener, building on the successes of their first two releases as well as their regular band ‘day jobs’. The album artwork, created by the respected American horror artist, illustrator, film-maker and writer, Nathan Thomas Milliner, adds to the nostalgia in a fabulous manner with its depiction of the band members as puppets on strings controlled by a vaudevillian Freddy Krueger character: I am positive that the limited edition vinyl of this album will be a joy to behold.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni (DGM) at Domination Studios in San Marino, the album sounds and feels like the joyous sleazy soundtrack to a heavy metal New Year’s Eve party. The band sound tight and slick, the lyrics are pompous and over the top, the guitar solos are indulgent and glorious, the drums are frantic and the bass heavy. “Enjoy The Ride” kicks you in the face like a classic Aerosmith or Motley Crue track, unashamedly reveling in a hook-laden blast of the past. The party atmosphere continues with the “Rock this place, a smile upon our face” refrain surfacing again during “Hell Sweet Hell” which ends in a mass singalong which will undoubtedly get the fists pumping in the air during live performances.

The album’s title track and inspiration behind the artwork bludgeons your ears into submission before unveiling another catchy chorus, sounding brutal yet polished with a sheen that is worthy of the classic acts they so clearly idolise. This album may be a bit too nostalgic for some metal purists but it is clear that this band like what they do and do what they like in terms of their inspiration. “Appetite” demonstrates this perfectly, from the opening guitar solo and driving drum beats through to the wistful lyrics of DavideMoras and the piano-led outro.

It would be easy for some bands to sound superficial when creating music which so shamelessly harks back to the glory days of hair metal and glam rock, but the talent of the Hell In The Club guys as musicians shines through, leaving an irrepressible feeling of positivity and good feeling after just one spin. “The Life & Death of Mr. Nobody” brings the pace setting down a little from ‘metal stomper’ to ‘power ballad’, but the Jon Bon Jovi-esque vocals can’t help but make the song sound more familiar than it is.

“Naked” piles the sleaze on thick with the lascivious lyrics only a few puns short of a Steel Panther track: I am sure that you will struggle to find a more suggestive chorus this side of their next release. “Le Cirque des Horreurs” fittingly starts with an old lilting carnival tune before erupting into a pounding mass of drums and riffs with another signature ‘call and response’ chorus. Starting with a drum beat that reminded me of Faith No More’s “We Care A Lot”, “Try Me, Hate Me” is a frenetic and punchy little number with a solo that sounds like Slash handed it down with one of his old top hats.

The album is brought to a close by a cover version of ‘Money Changes Everything’ by The Brains, but best known for Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 version. This change of pace is reminiscent of the obligatory slow dance at the end of the night, when the party is nearly over. It does feel a little melancholy to go out with a sentimental whisper rather than an explosive bang, but this is Hell In The Club’s disco and they can damn well do as they please. After a storming show like “Shadow of the Monster”, they have probably got all the girls anyway.

Written by: Si Easton

Ratings: Si 8/10



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