November 23, 2020

Hellsmoke is a new hard rock band from Helsingborg in Southern Sweden with 2020 being the band’s heavy, incendiary and very hard hitting debut. The band began life when guitarist Christofer Dahlman (ex-Alyson Avenue, Bai Bang) and songwriter Torbjörn Månsson’ joined forces with drummer Roger Landin (ex-Cloudscape) and their proto-metal built around snarling guitars and earth shattering drums began to take form. They gigged with this format but expanded the with the addition of vocalist Rimbert Vahlström (ex-Syron Vanes), bassist Jörgen Löfberg (Darkane) and, crucially, the second guitarist Michael Åkesson (Alicate) when it came time to record the debut album.

The band have a simple approach to making music which is to make it loud, aggressive and guitar fuelled over a brutal barrage of drums and bass. Try to imagine a combination or a distillation of the essence of Wolfmother, AC/DC, Venom, Doomsday Outlaw and Black Label Society and you will then have a flavour of what this band is offering. The band doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously as they are too intent to have a seriously good time and there is a bump ‘n’ grind vibe to the music that is totally infectious and drags you along with it. Rimbert Vahlström is another of those seriously good Swedish rock singers and he has a vocal delivery somewhere between Lemmy and Bruce Dickinson and totally directs the band as it unleashes hard rock hell or should that be hard rock heaven? The guitars combine in an orgy of crunching riffs and killer lead breaks and the album has a feel of a newly found heavy rock classic from the ’70s and I mean that with the greatest respect. There is a retro feel to the album for sure but it remains fresh, vibrant and, for want of a better expression, ‘with it’. The songs are gloriously uncomplicated but that is the way they are meant to be, this is beer drinking music and designed to ensure that all who partake have a good time. The album opens with the high octane Devil’s Train and closes with the explosive Nitro Woman and there you have the album in a microcosm and if it was a woman then it would be dangerous, bad and the one your mother warned you about so it automatically becomes doubly exciting therefore you are simply powerless to resist! Hellsmoke has produced an album at the first attempt that is just about perfect and so succinctly is the very definition of hard rock, it’s going to be one hell of an act to follow up.

Magnificent rock at it’s very best and if this had been released in 1969 then Hellsmoke would be one of the biggest bands on the planet!

2020 track list

  1. Devil’s Train (4:08)
  2. Black Sun Rising (4:49)
  3. Rest When You’re Dead (4:11)
  4. Nowhereland (4:51)
  5. Hellcome To The Badland (4:08)
  6. Raise Your Fist (3:50)
  7. Hell Adrenaline (2:56)
  8. Common Man (5:39)
  9. Bad Motorbreath (4:27)
  10.  Nitro Woman (4:12)