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Hellions‘ second album, Indian Summer, is one of the most exciting things to happen to the Australian music scene so far this year. The level of skill the fresh young band uses to execute this fusion of punk melody, hard rock drumming, and metal everything else, is simply astounding. It’s difficult to comprehend the enormous sound is generated by only three band members.
Grandiose in nature, the self-titled lead track lies right in the sweet spot between metal and hard rock. The unique combination of Rage Against the Machine-style rap nestled between precisely delivered unclean vocals leaves you yearning for lead singer Dre Faivre to spit out the next lyric.
But don’t expect the same old thing repeated on this album. The second track, Nottingham, exemplifies beauty in the chaos of the metal and will keep you hanging for the catchy punk rock melody with every break. The song’s success lies in its unpredictability. Neurotic yet meticulous drumming traverses multiple time signatures, breaking into melodic bass in the interludes before allowing the intricate lead guitar to carry the listener into elation.
Technicolour Yawn, is a perfectly placed instrumental interlude. Upbeat maracas and flamenco-esque electric guitar reminiscent of Santana dominate this cool hiatus from hard rock, at the same time demonstrating the young band’s varied talents.
Listen: Hellions – Nottingham
Ghoul capitalises on drummer Anthony Caruso’s obvious talent, raising the heart rate and dropping it right back down again with rises leading into perfectly timed moments of silence.
Lie brings the second half of the album firmly into punk metal territory, whilst the addition of stringed instruments and piano in the split track Polyphasic Sleeps adds an interesting layer to what would otherwise be straight metal tracks.
Throughout the album Matthew Gravolin’s clean vocals shine, providing the balance between hardcore aggression and melody that so many similar bands fail to achieve.
Mea Culpa, the second last track, teases curious listeners with melodious dabblings. Gentle piano is coupled with soft, slow finger picking on the lead guitar, but it’s not long before dirty vocals and heavy guitar bring the song back to the album’s core style. By keeping the drums comparatively minimal and focusing on the melody created by the bass and lead guitars, the listener is once more given a taste of the euphoria achieved in Nottingham.
Hellions’ musical identity is full of intrigue, excitement and innovation. “Indian Summer is our way of showing people who we are,” says the band. If this represents who Hellions are, there’s no telling what’s coming next. And that’s pretty damn exciting.
Hellions’ ‘Indian Summer’ is out now via UNFD.
Watch: Hellions – Hellions (ft. JJ Peters and Real Bad of Deez Nuts)