Within the time it took from first note on the opening track of the Outside EP to reach the last of the closing song, the four track release from UK rockers Hellbound Hearts became one of our favourite EPs of the year. To be honest with you it is not groundbreaking or openly adventurous, and it even contains one song which did not ignite the passions inspired elsewhere, but for thrilling energetic rock n roll you cannot do better.
The Outside EP is not due for release until the beginning of December and normally we would not cover things until the month before but such the enjoyment given by the trio from York that the sharing of its greatness was impossible to restrain. The band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Danny Lambert (former bassist for Terrorvision), bassist Jase Brooks, and Andy Black on drums, unleash this their second EP as part of the build up, which also includes shows supporting the original Terrorvision line-up on their 2012 tour, to a big 2013 which sees a tour and a flurry of festival appearances already in the pipeline. Things are stirring for the band, an enthused energy brewing around them which Outside will only accelerate the pace of one suspects.
The title track takes mere seconds to have a firm and unshakeable hold, its jagged groove and rapier like rhythms instantly compulsive. The snarling bass of Brooks is a bruising treat amongst the addictive strokes of Lambert, his own hooks irresistible and inciteful to the passions. Into its stride with catchy choruses and rampant riffs, the track thunders through to the heart with melodic swipes and the continually persistent beats of Black resonating like a pulse. Though as mentioned at the beginning nothing is strikingly new, the song is wonderfully unpredictable and merges breaks and aural tones deliciously. Like all the songs on Outside, the track is impossible to shake off after its departure, not that you would want to try.
The following song My Cynical is the track which did not generate the same responses as elsewhere and it is a little surprising. The song is complete with fine vocals, contagious hooks, and obvious enterprise but there is a something not quite working for personal taste. The song does everything right, though other than from the bass there is not the same snap or bite to it as in other tracks. It is a slower stroll than the other songs but still with hooks which you cannot escape and a clear well defined melodic invention. It simply did not ignite any sparks within for some reason though the song nevertheless is welcome anytime.
Sinking Ship is soon gnawing on the ear from distorted bass and muscular riffs, its immediate presence intense and bruising. It soon levels the aggression to merge a fiery groove and riotous energies into great melodic lures and spicy hooks, the combination wholly infectious and impressive. It is a stomp to leave one breathless yet fired up and ready to take on all comers, the essence of rock n roll.
The closing slab of punk n roll, Hold Steady, is simply an anthemic brawl of attitude, energy, and great sounds. Less defined in that it is just a storm of passion and energy rather than a mesh of acutely crafted hooks and sonic manipulations, the song offers a varied and fruitful splash of filth coated rock music.
The Outside EP is just what rock n roll is about, good times, and wasted bodies. It makes no demands nor pushes limits but simply leaves one full of satisfaction and joy. Hellbound Hearts are definitely on the march.
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