It was 2013 when UK rockers Hellbound Hearts caught our ears and imagination with their potential ridden and thoroughly thrilling Outside EP. It was one of those encounters which simply brought energetic and eager life to feet and emotions whilst impressively building on their already well-received self-titled EP of 2011, the year the band emerged. Now they have returned with their thumping new persuasion, The Proximity Effect, an EP which not only realises much of the promise of its predecessors but sets out a new recipe of inspiring adventure to be explored ahead.
The time between the last and new EP seems to have been a testing time for the York band; personnel changes, health issues, and recording issues thorns in building on their already potent presence and reputation. Now the trio of vocalist/guitarist Danny Lambert (ex-Terrorvision), bassist Craig McLaren, and drummer Billy James Mitchell (ex-Glitterati) have overcome all obstacles and unleashed their finest irresistible slab of rock ‘n’ roll yet. Already the band has unleashed their renowned live performances on the year, sure to continue in the vein which earned them success and high praise through performances with the likes of Black Spiders, JettBlack, The Treatment, Terrorvision, Sons of Icarus and Warrior Soul in the past. It is The Proximity Effect which will be the prime weapon in whipping up the broadest national attention though, something it has already begun sparking since its release.
Posters In The Sun descends on ears first, opening with a caress of raw but inviting guitar accompanied by a just as dirty riff, and soon finding heavy beats adding to the tempting. Once the dark tones of McLaren’s bass infuse their increasingly alluring enterprise, the track is stomping with punk attitude and rock ‘n’ roll voracity. Vocals bring their melodic roar to the web of hooks and captivating riffs soon after whilst Mitchell’s swinging sticks just seem to get more compelling and tenacious, much as the song. It is all coloured by a rock pop infectiousness which early on begins to blossom inside the encounter and ripen especially in its chorus. The song is the spice of addiction and makes one highly enjoyable and gripping start to the EP.
The following Ones And Zeros makes a just as imaginative entrance, a weave of melodic chords being accosted and complimented by a great resonance of throaty bass. Swiftly more aggressive than its predecessor but no less virulent, the song prowls and strolls across verse and chorus as a torrent of addictive hooks, musically and vocally, colour the first stage and a mellower catchiness lighting up the latter. Again there is a punk tenacity to the mix of metal and hard rock, resulting in a gripping blaze of sound around a host of creative and vocal temptations.
There is a grungier air to Bones next, a mellower essence which wraps around the alternative metal canvas. Equally though there is a raw aggressive edge to it all which lines the more voracious passages of the song. Riffs and hooks especially ignite thoughts and appetite whilst the punchy beats just keep it all caged in a slightly intimidating frame. Not as immediately infectious as the first two, the track is a growing and mighty persuasion revealing another new twist and flavouring to the band’s songwriting and sound.
Overall there feels a harsher nature, more volatile character to the EP than its predecessor. It never actually erupts in hostility but the danger is there and the songs all benefit from it, as shown by the closing Silence Falls. The last track has an open familiarity to it, bred from its pop punk and alternative rock collusion as much as anything, and is soon seducing with thick melodies and bracing riffs matched by addiction forging rhythms. Stirring up imagination and the pleasures alike with potent and magnetic enterprise, the song is a formidable and mouth-watering end to a similarly impacting release.
It may have been a turbulent 2014 for Hellbound Hearts but they are back, and on even more impressive form with a sound and creative adventure to match. If you are looking for feisty rock ‘n’ roll to invigorate your daily soundtrack then The Proximity Effect is a wise and thrilling choice.
The Proximity Effect EP is available now @ http://hellboundhearts.bandcamp.com/album/the-proximity-effect
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