Germany has an undisputed reputation for producing damn fine rock and metal – from the progressive widdlings of Eloy through the fierce traditionalism of the likes of Accept, Helloween and The Scorpions, the industrial might of Rammstein to some of the most brutal thrash ever produced, in the shape of Kreator and their ilk.
One area, however, in which they’ve never really dabbled – despite the heritages of places such as Berlin and Hamburg (ah, the drunken nights, the busty frauleins…) – is sleaze.
Unfortunately, this debut from this Stuttgart quartet is going to do nothing to cement that reputation in this department…
The songs are well written – ‘Never Gonna Stop’, ‘You Live You Learn You Die’ and ‘Shout’ are good enough slices of rawk’n’brawl, while ‘Gone’ is a fine, if clichéd, ballad – and the performances are strong: the rhythm section of Chris and Gunnar work well together, Steve pulls off some pretty nifty likes and Pierre is a decent enough vocalist.
But, there’s a helluva lot missing. The production, for example, is too squeaky clean: there’s not enough dirt under its painted finger nails to give the album that truly sleazy feel, and the whole thing just sounds pedestrian. For example, the aforementioned ‘Never Gonna Stop’, ‘Torture’ and the bluesy, Poison-esque ‘Girls’ have the potential to stand up there with anything Hanoi Rocks or even WASP have produced, but instead come across as self-mocking parodies of both themselves and the genre. Which is a real pity, as the end result is one of potential unfulfilled.
Personally, I’ll be waiting for the new Black Sheriff album to hear how this sort of thing should be done…
A must-do-better 4/10.
‘Helldorados’ is out now on Massacre Records.