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Hell In The Club – Shadow Of The Monster

Hell In The Club
Shadow Of The Monster
by Anton Sanatov at 28 May 2016, 3:02 PM

Guys, tip your waitresses - after all, they're dancing on your tables. I guess that it's a primal urge to want to go back to where the party is. And to many who now share that longing, that place was in the 80's. There is no doubt that if one was presented with an opportunity to spend a weekend in the decade of decadence, spandex would stretch, hair would rise and lipstick would smear. Regardless of how cultured one might be, sometimes we are all attracted to something garish. That's because it simple, easy to taste and consume; like that cocktail that's sweet on the tongue but hard on the head. And HELL IN THE CLUB's "Shadow of the Monster" is like a spliced daiquiri mix that's been lying bottled-up in the cellar for the past 25 years; it may be good for a night on the town but that's as far as the fumes go. Nevertheless, dust the glitter off and lets crack it open.

I must admit; I had trouble discerning the kitsch value of this record. On the one hand it has that endearing, sleazy yet brazen flare of 80's Metal during its transition into the 90's; very much in the vein of LYNCH MOB's "Wicked Sensation", though without George Lynch's stamp of quality assurance. However, there are also plenty of moments where the band's enthusiasm overflows into a bucket of banality.

The opener "Dance!" showed a lot of promise. With some heavy BLACK LABEL SOCIETY verse chugging and a very catchy BULLET BOYS-esque hook, it will have you sliding up and down the pole before the barkeep has a chance to say 'last call'. HELL IN THE CLUB then suggest that you simply "Enjoy the Ride". And although the ‘killswitch’ riff and solid groove might keep you switching gears, it doesn't put a lot of miles on the meter and becomes one of the tracks - along with "Appetite" and "Le Cirques Des Horreurs" (the band's Progressive Hair Metal trendsetter) - that stagnate this record with formulaic songwriting and bland guitar work; even though a lot if the licks are hot, they cool rather quickly.

HELL IN THE CLUB truly gets the joint rocking when they throw out the more bluesy, southern rock inspired numbers like "Hell Sweet Hell", the title track, and the outstandingly swinging "Try Me Hate Me", which, whilst simple in their demeanour, are crates of fun with a brewery's insignia. And of course there are some ballads - though quite commendably, not as many as one might anticipate from such an outfit. "The Life & Death of Mr. Nobody", whilst being you run-of-mill 'slow jam' offering, is actually a solid, even slightly New-Wave tinged saline offering amidst all the debauchery. And not to mention "Naked", a ticket stub from that WHITESNAKE concert you took your high-school crush to. And whilst on a lot of these tracks the songwriting may appear somewhat schematic, it is nonetheless consistent and cogent.

The production on the album is superb. It maintains a fairly raw essence of an older record whilst sanding the corners for a crisp, smooth sound. The instrumentation too is worthy of praise. The band delivers tight performances all around; and whilst I did mention the guitar work to be a times too shallow, it is nonetheless top-notch, and guitarist Picco's delivery is quite worthy of 80's masters in the likes of CC Deville. The vocals of lead singer Dave too carry this record with a strong presence, genuine feel and self-assertion; some pretty solid pipes reminiscent of Oni Logan and Marq Torien.

Overall, it's not a bad album; and a great friend if you've worn out your L.A. GUNS collection. "Shadow of the Monster" is a jukebox; it's fun to play, it entertains the crowd, but it will likely stay behind at the end of the night.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Dance!
  2. Enjoy the Ride
  3. Hell Sweet Hell
  4. Shadow of the Monster
  5. The Life & Death of Mr. Nobody
  6. Appetite
  7. Naked
  8. Le Cirques Des Horreurs
  9. Try Me, Hate Me
  10. Money Changes Everything
Lineup:
Dave – Vocals
Picco – Guitars
Andy – Bass
Lancs – Drums
Record Label: Scarlet Records
     


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