Hellsongs – Minor Misdemeanors (Lovely Records)

Until young female singer Siri Bergnéhr had a stroke late last year, Hellsongs were a group of metal-loving Swedish musicians with a pop sensibility. They described themselves as ‘lounge rock’, but with the exception of a very cruisy cover of Wasp’s I Wanna Be Somebody, this album of rock covers sounds more alt-pop – as though it’s been put through a Tori Amos-ifacion machine.

This gulf between self-image and reality is also evident in the band’s name and cover art. The name Hellsongs and an image of a combi van with a skull on the front is at odds with the band’s soft guitars, sweet whistling and gentle sense of humour.

As you’d expect, this is a patchy album. To my ears I Wanna Be Somebody, Pantera’s Walk and ACDC’s Sin City are hits, School’s Out just passes with a C- and Welcome To The Jungle fails dismally. Had the band stuck to their goal of making lounge covers of metal songs this may have been a more rewarding album. As it is, the original melodies have been chopped and changed just enough to make this a faintly frustrating listen.

 Minor Misdemeanors is best summed-up by Autopsy IV on ninebullets.net: “an entertaining album to put on when you have company and watch as they have an internal struggle trying to figure out just what it is they are listening to.”

Kathryn van Beek  www.joyriderpromotions.com

Click here to listen to I Wanna Be Somebody from Minor Misdemeanors