Hell In The Club - Let The Games Begin (2011/Avenue of Allies)
Here's a band that's making some waves in the sleaze scene at the moment. Hell In The Club is a four-piece made up of members from Italian heavy metal bands Secret Sphere and Elvenking, and basically the brainchild of Secret Sphere bass player Andrea "Andy" Buratto, who wanted to do an "ambitious rock 'n' roll project" as supposed to the symphonic power metal of his other band. Since both Secret Sphere and Elvenking has been around since the mid 90's, these guys are certainly no newcomers in the heavy metal business, but the question is: what do they have to offer in the world of sleazy hard rock?
Quite a lot, actually. The musical recipe on "Let the Games Begin" is very familiar, with the main ingredients being blazing guitar riffs, gang backing vocals, a lot of attitude and lyrics about partying and
having fun. In other words, an archetypical sleaze album that borrow heavily on Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Guns 'N' Roses and the likes. Comparisations to current sleaze and hard rock acts like Crashdïet, Crazy Lixx and Chris Laney are never far away either, not surprisingly since they are bands that generally share the same influences.
Things get off to a good start with the pairing of "Never Turn My Back" and first single "Rock Down This Place", both competent rockers, although not mind-blowing. "On The Road" takes on a more melodic approach, in the tradition of Danger Danger and Harem Scarem, but it's in track 4 "Natural Born Rockers" we are served the first (and perhaps only) real killer track on show, complete with the big "Hey!" gang shouts and a great chorus. Next up is "Since You're Not Here" and the Sam Cooke cover "Another Saturday Night", of which the first one reminds of Wig Wam at their most radio-friendliest, although not quite in the same class. The rest of the album is a mixed bag, with a few nice rockers ("Don't Throw In The Towel" and "Raise Your Drinkin' Glass", for example) and some average stuff like "Forbidden Fruit" and the Bon Jovi-like ballad "Star".
What we have here is a competent album, with all the necessary ingredients for making it stellar, but for some reason, I'm not blown away. Hard to put my finger on why, as I generally can't find anything wrong with it, but it certainly misses something to push it to the level of acts like the aforementioned Crashdïet, or Crazy Lixx. I think more consistency and perhaps, stronger choruses, could be what's needed. All in all, though, a promising debut and if you're into the whole sleaze thing then you could certainly do worse than checking these guys out.
Bob Wheeler - s/t
Fury - s/t