For Fans Of
If there’s one thing you can’t fault Hellions for, it’s their work rate. Since 2013, the band has been touring and releasing music constantly. Their first album under the Hellions banner, ‘Die Young’, saw them build a reputation as a solid live act. They followed that up with the stellar ‘Indian Summer’ in 2015, which greatly added to their sound. But here we are, just over a year later and third full-length, ‘Opera Oblivia’ is about to drop and sure enough, the boys have added even bloody more to their sound.
While fundamentally a hardcore band at heart, Hellions have always incorporated nu-metal elements into the mix, such as a flowing style of vocal patterns and super bouncy guitar riffs (see their self-titled song for this). However, they’ve pushed the boundaries of their music much further with ‘Opera Oblivia’. The opener ‘24’ is standard fare for the band, well, until you reach the back half of the song and it breaks down into this slower, operatic section and then into a huge gang chant that will be an absolute treat live. Once this first track ends, it’s followed up by the highly energetic ‘Quality Of Life’, and it’s killer. It’s got this huge, A Day To Remember sounding chorus, these bouncy verses courtesy of some great riffs, and a positive message of living your dreams to boot. It’s clear to see why the band released this song as the album’s first single.
But while there are some strong ‘posi’ vibes running through the album, don’t think that it is all sunshine and rainbows.
For example, ‘He Without Sin i) Halation’ and it’s following sister track ‘ii) Heels Of The Hands’ tackle the subject of molestation and sexual assault within the church. ‘Heels Of The Hands’ is just sound bites taken from interviews with molestation victims, and it’s haunting stuff. It’s definitely two very poignant statements made even more powerful when delivered through song form. Another track that makes a big statement is ‘Nuestra Culpa’ (“our guilt” or “our fault” in English), which in no uncertain terms, talks about the struggles of being a musician in 2016, especially within the heavy music scene. It’s accompanying string and percussion section towards the tail end of the track is great, too, and shows that Hellions are more than just a “heavy” band.
Another standout is ‘Thresher’. Now, I had the pleasure of providing my thoughts on the new Blink-182 album, ‘California’ recently, and it’s somehow fitting that Hellions can write what is essentially a pop-punk song that doesn’t irritate the shit out of me. That’s more than I can say for Blink-182 & a strong achievement for a band if you’re not The Story So Far.
All things considered, this is the best Hellions have sounded in terms of their production in my humble opinion. The mix is pretty solid, and despite a blatantly obvious snare drum sample (but what band these days doesn’t use samples these days, honestly?) the overall sonic quality of the album is terrific. Musically, adding choral sections and other operatic elements is a very cool, very new thing for this band, but it all ties in so well with Dre Faivre’s greater focus on clean singing. Oh yeah, Faivre sings a lot more now, and it’s great!
Hellions have reached for the stars with ‘Opera Oblivia’, and I sincerely do hope that this ambitious record pays off for them. This is definitely a bigger, bolder step in a more melodic direction and one that I didn’t expect at first. The overall scale of the album from a sheer sonic perspective is definitely going to catch many fans off guard initially, but stick with it as it only gets better. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited for a release from Unified and y’all should go pick this shit up on July 29th. I know I will be!
2. Quality Of Life
4. Lotus Eater
5. He Without Sin i) Halation
6. He Without Sin ii) Heels of the Hands
7. Bad Way
8. Nightliner Rhaposdy
9. Nuestra Culpa