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Hellgrimm – The Hunger

The Hunger
by Leanne Evans at 11 September 2021, 10:28 AM

HELLGRIMM were founded in 2018, a Texan duo with heady soulful stoner vibes, combined with upbeat 70’s retro flavours. Their latest full-length, “The Hunger”, is laced with infectious grooves and hazy hues, all wrapped up with some inebriating moments. Influence has been cited as being BLACK SABBATH and JIMI HENDRIX and, boy, can you hear their delicious sonics coursing through!

Popping the cork, title-track “The Hunger” smacks with a dizzying SABBATH riff and bluesy vibes, intensely layered with summery hues and flirtatious beats, sticky with its stifling sonics and steady pace, wrapped in Erica’s honeyed vocals. Breaking through, a tasty, distorted solo penetrates, building your appetite for more delicious cuts from HELLGRIMM to ravish. The likes of “Monster in Me” plugs a hazy JIMI HENDRIX influenced riff, with great use of the Wah pedal, pulling in a psych feeling, melded with a pleasant 70’s era rock nostalgia.

A couple of tracks in and it’s a pleasurable listen, although the ‘hit and miss’ track “Train” takes the LP in a direction that it thankfully doesn’t stay with for too long. The cut sounds confused with its intention, starting in a wistful way, creeping to a more aggressive output, with a great guitar solo – that I personally love and wish the band had ventured with more on this track – swiftly moving back to the sickly-sweet and bland. It’s a miss from me. “Plague” redeems very nicely, though, with an intro akin to SABBATH’s synonymous thick and moody “Iron Man” riff and progression to a tasty arpeggio, with a fine bit of downtuning, and some unnerving, hypnotic sounding vocals. There’s an intoxicating gloom and trudge to this track that you can’t get enough of.

HELLGRIMM change the tone once again for the ballad-esque track “Feeling Nothing”, sultry and stifling with its smooth and polished output, although it quickly becomes clear that there’s more of a seething undertone when the pace picks up. Jerry pulls in one of his fabulous solos later in the piece and Erica’s vocals are on fire, with her range really shining. The bizarre twist then comes in the form of “Leatherface” – where one can only assume that this is a metaphorical representation of a demon, unless HELLGRIMM really are alluding to the character from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” – with the deranged and chaotic riffs and drums pulling an audial bludgeoning and demonic, grunted background vocals. The guitar solos, again, are punchy and tight, but the thematic of this track is too obscure and makes for something rather cacophonous and unpleasant.

Thankfully, screeching in comes “Dreamon”, all fuzzed and heavily distorted with its intro, morphing into a woozed wonder of downtuned dreaminess and percussion heavy greatness, with Erica’s sugared vocals dripping like syrup over the chords. The album then takes a twist into the bluesy territory we felt earlier with “Bottle I Drank”, a tinkering of the harmonica intertwined amongst oozing riffs and that Wah that so nicely fits. Then, “The Hunger” launches into bass heavy “Insidious”, with its shroud of evil suffocation and malevolent spitting as spoken words mix amongst forked-tongue vocals looming in the background. Rather thoughtfully, HELLGRIMM counteract the odious vibes, completing the full-length with the purity of the soft and soothing sounds of “Tears of Eve”, an instrumental of almost celestial quality to calm with its mellifluous melody and comforting sounds of rain pouring; it’s a very pretty outro to a mixed listen.

“The Hunger” is most certainly an eclectic collection of tracks. When HELLGRIMM get it right, the tracks are a magnificent listen and absolutely divine. Sadly, when they don’t hit that sweet spot, it hampers the experience and sometimes even merges into the eccentric. If you’re prepared to skip a few songs, and content to enjoy a clutch of belters, this album is a worth a listen.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Hunger
2. Monster in Me
3. Train
4. Plague
5. Feeling Nothing
6. Leatherface
7. Dreamon
8. Bottle I Drank
9. Insidious
10. Tears of Eve
Erica Missey – Vocals, Drum, Bass
Jerry Connor – Guitars
Record Label: Burning V Records


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