Album Review – Hellsmoke / 2020 (2020)

Raise your horns to the debut album of gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock by five Swedish rockers who are ready to kick some ass and burn some fuel in the name of good music.

Playing what the band itself likes to call “a gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock combination”, Helsingborg, Sweden’s own Hellsmoke were born when guitarist Christofer Dahlman (Alyson Avenue, Bai Bang) and a previous member of the band got together with their longtime friend and drummer Roger Landin (Cloudscape), starting then to iron out what the band should be all about, which is obviously heavy guitars, pounding drums and rough but refined melodies. With the additions of the skillful vocalist Rimbert Vahlström (Syron Vanes), guitarist Michael Åkesson (Alicate) and bassist Jörgen Löfberg (Darkane) to the crew, it’s time for Hellsmoke to kick some serious ass and burn a huge amount of fuel in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll with their debut full-length album, simply titled 2020, and although the year of 2020 itself is a million light-years away from being even close to decent as you all know, the music found in Hellsmoke’s debut effort positions them as one of the most interesting and electrifying names of the new Swedish scene and of the global Hard Rock scene hands down.

Their infernal train of Rock N’ Roll is about to arrive in the opening track Devils Train, a Volbeat-meets-Black Sabbath-meets-Black Label Society extravaganza with Jörgen being thunderous on bass while Rimbert showcases all his vocal potency right from the start, whereas the blazing guitars by Christofer and Michael ignite their machine once again in the dark and melodic Black Sun Rising, a headbanging tune blending the heaviness of classic metal music with contemporary Hard Rock for our total delight. Following such strong start, there’s nothing better than drinking a cold pint of beer while banging our heads to a fun rockin’ hymn like Rest When You’re Dead, led by the pounding beats by Roger while Rimbert has another sensational performance with his raspy, flammable vocals; and it’s then time for a dark and groovy ballad titled Nowhereland, where Jörgen and Roger generate a menacing atmosphere with their metallic instruments in contrast with the piercing riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael. And there’s more of their fusion of Heavy Metal with Stoner and Southern Rock in Hellcome to the Badland, bringing to our avid ears a hammering sonority with classic beats, strident guitars and very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Rimbert.

Get ready for a frantic pub brawl to the sound of the Rock N’ Roll anthem Raise Your Fist, where all band members are on absolute fire, therefore inspiring us all to (guess what?) raise our fists in the name of rock and metal. Needless to say, Rimbert steals the show once again in this amazing tune, while the band’s unstoppable guitar duo puts the pedal to the metal in the fast and furious Hell Adrenaline, sounding as if Volbeat and Motörhead had a bastard son, exhaling heaviness, groove, electricity and endless adrenaline. The menacing bass by Jörgen kicks off the stoner-fueled, neck-breaking Common Man, where once again we face the soulful riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael intertwined with the intricate, progressive drums by Roger, and in Bad Motor Breath the band shows they’re never tired of blasting old school, badass Rock N’ Roll in what’s perhaps the most Southern Rock-inspired song of all, with Rimbert and Roger taking the lead with their respective dirty vocals and smashing beats. Finally, closing such amazing album let’s enjoy another awesome display of the band’s perfect hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll entitled Nitro Woman, and I must point out  what a bestial performance by the band’s stringed trio, providing Rimbert exactly what he needs to kill with his always precise vocal lines.

Containing absolutely no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, 2020 offers fans of rock and metal a straightforward sound perfect for hitting the road or spending some time with our most beloved friends and family members, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the hard-hitting music by bands like Motörhead, Volbeat, Motorjesus and Black Label Society, proving the guys from Hellsmoke are among us to stay with their incendiary creations. Hence, keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page and Instagram for news, tour dates and everything else surrounding them, and of course don’t forget to support the guys from Hellsmoke by purchasing 2020 from an array of locations including the Pride & Joy Music webstore, the Season of Mist webstore, the Wind Up Production webstore, the Banquet Records webstore, Amazon and so on. As aforementioned, 2020 might be the nastiest, most disturbing and most disgusting year of the past few decades, but at least that damned number will always be well-represented by the smoky and acid music played by those talented Swedish rockers in their newborn spawn.

Best moments of the album: Rest When You’re Dead, Raise Your Fist, Hell Adrenaline and Nitro Woman.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Devils Train 4:09
2. Black Sun Rising 4:50
3. Rest When You’re Dead 4:12
4. Nowhereland 4:52
5. Hellcome to the Badland 4:10
6. Raise Your Fist 3:51
7. Hell Adrenaline 2:57
8. Common Man 5:39
9. Bad Motor Breath 4:27
10. Nitro Woman 4:12

Band members
Rimbert Vahlström – vocals
Christofer Dahlman – guitars
Michael Åkesson – guitars
Jörgen Löfberg – bass
Roger Landin – drums

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.