Edaciously compelling and deviously rousing, Not Sorry is the new album from Swiss goth rockers Hell Boulevard and a release which slipped and festered under the skin from its first breath. Offering twelve tracks of unapologetic darkness around seeds of light and reassurance revelling in the band’s fiery marriage of styles and imagination, the record is a striking and voracious mausoleum of rock ‘n’ roll and the intimate and global crumbling of the world and simply the finest adventure with the quartet.
Formed in 2014 by Italian vocalist Matteo VDiva Fabbiani from the demise of Swiss band Lost Area, Hell Boulevard has increasingly drawn keen attention and support through previous albums, Inferno (2016) and In Black We Trust, as well as a host of singles and their inimitable live shows. Completed by guitarist/vocalist Von Marengo (Lost Area), bassist Raul Sanchez and drummer Jan Hangman, the foursome merge the darkest seduction of gothic metal/rock with the impassioned fires of melodic rock and the predacious ferocity and virulence of industrial metal with plenty more besides. It is something akin to a fusion of Type O Negative, King Satan, Rob Zombie, Rammstein and Porn but inescapably individual in creative character and sonic roar and making Not Sorry one gripping proposal.
From the first breath of opener I Should Be Dead By Now, drama soaks every note and syllable of the album. The track electronically sizzles before hitting its predacious stride, Fabbiani’s equally potent tones walking the infectious invitation amidst similarly tempting dark rhythms and grooves. Soothing caresses are no strangers to the song’s instinctive prowling of the senses either, its electronic and sonic enterprise a mix of the heavily rapacious and menacingly seductive.
The album’s title track follows, welling up from the distance into its own possessive temptation of ears and spirit. Again electronic and metal seeded inclinations weave a compelling proposal; its gait hungry, energetic and increasingly ominous but with a creative control and imagination which is just as manipulative before current single Speak of the Devil springs its own trap upon ears and appetite. The opening incitement of keys alone has a charm honed in dark mischief, their swift movement soon immersed in the wall of sound and fascination which erupts and becomes rich incitement to the melodic temptation driving it. The song is superb, cinematically hued and raucously rousing not forgetting increasingly addictive as it hungrily ignited body and imagination.
The dark seduction of Ropes and Candies is next up, its balladry and romance a fusion of corruption, passion and melodic prowess and a rich entanglement of thoughts and imagination while Death to the Future escalates the dark temptations of its predecessor in a Tartarean tempest. It is an apocalyptic storm though as mercurial in its tumult and trespass as it is voracious in its enterprise and endeavour. Guitars and keys unite in again cinematic intimation as bass and drums collude in driving the wolfish incitement sweeping the senses.
Through the challenge and contemplations of the predatory Where is your God Now? and the tenebrific musings of You Had Me at Fuck Off, the album tightened its grip on attention and appetite. The first is an outstanding threat and motivation with its successor a pitch black rapture which just enthralled. There is something familiar yet indefinable about the second of the two which only added to its weighty breath and allure and together with its predecessor providing our favourite moment of Not Sorry, which the vigorous and electrifying Queen Paranoia only spiralled with its anthemic rowdiness and melodic intimacy.
Hate Me and Like Romeo and Juliet each had ears hooked and thoughts involved with their respectively emotive dramas, each a ballad of eager individuality and creative potency. Those traits are just as magnetic and enjoyable within the haunting Lilies and Roses where not for the first time within the release, strings pulled on the imagination as much as the band’s invention, sound and Fabbiani’s vocal passion.
The album closes with To Hell and Beyond, a slice of devilment and sonic fire which had ears greedy and the body bouncing without inhibition. It is a glorious rock opera-esque end to an increasingly irresistible release, Not Sorry a caliginous beauty of sound and adventure which could and should bring Hell Boulevard far larger attention and accompanying success.
Not Sorry is out now via NoCut Entertainment.
Dates for proposed NOT SORRY – TOUR 2021
15.01.2021 – Frankfurt/Main, Nachtleben
16.01.2021 Stuttgart, Club Zentral
17.01.2021 München, Backstage Club
21.01.2021 Dresden, Groovestation
22.01.2021 Berlin, Badehaus
23.01.2021 Hamburg, LOGO
05.02.2021 Köln, MTC
06.02.2021 Hameln, Sumpfblume
Pete RingMaster 29/10/2020