Music Reviews

The Hellacopters

High Visibility


Each of the members of the Hellacopters gets one-million bonus points for the “look.” It’s long greasy hair, denim, leather and suede in various combinations. And they’ve been doing it since, what 1996? Well before the garage rock cottage industry and stoner rock boom. Shit, this was back when folks shook their heads at frontman Nick Royale’s decision to quit pounding the sticks for Swedish death trailblazers Entombed and move into more sweat-and-beer-stained puke-rock territory. But hey, every man’s got his own voice, so let the kid do what he wants. So lets add in a few more bonus points for the Death Metal Connection, and then tack on 30,000 more because I always though Nick was the coolest member of Entombed. Is that everything? Damn, it’s gonna be hard to review this record objec… oh wait, five-billion points for that interview in Terrorizer I read awhile back where Nick casually mentioned that EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the band had their own copy of The Stooges’ deluxe boxed set of Funhouse sessions. Godhead!

The cover is so fucking awesome, it makes me wish that I owned this shit on vinyl. Imagine it, huge goddamn pictures of The Hellacopters slaying all over your turntable. Yow! Nick Royale and Roger Davquist rocking out with hair-a-flying and they’ve got proud Valkyrie wings! Makes perfect sense to me. Then, on the inside there’s a picture of the band, standing around, looking all sullen in front of a magnificent old country mansion. Weirdly enough, it resembles The Beatles’ last group photo shoot, where they all have long matted hair and look like they’d rather be anywhere else in the world. Is there a torch being passed here? The mind boggles.

To the business at hand, High Visibility sounds kinda unlike other Hellacopters records that I’ve encountered. There’s some rough edges smoothed over, a little bit more pervert pop genius, just a tiny bit less dirt under the fingernails. You know what I’m thinking? T. Rex at their most unstoppable! Or Cheap Trick! In fact, Royale’s vocals even owe a little to the glamstomper yelps of Marc Bolan, with a tiny dash of Ozzy circa Sabbath. The keyboards add an interesting dimension; it=EDs okay, don’t freak out, think David Bowie’s speedhead keyboards on Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot/Lust For Life.” Besides it’s a small point in the face of this massive Bolanpunk punch. These are anthems for the yoof! Summer songs for driving around bored out of your skull at 2:30 in the afternoon, out of your mind, searching for the next kick. Or maybe you’re passing hours in your friend’s room, paging through metal mags (Circus!) and playing this record at ungodly volumes. Or you could even listen to it when you’re trying to get up the courage to call THAT girl/boy? Pre-rumble rock! If the kids knew what was good for them, this is what they’d be playing on their kooky little minidisc players. Whatever happened to cassettes anyway? They fit in your pocket sooo easily.

I dig every single song on this platter. It=EDs got sugary sweet pop hooks, loud loud geetars, and the musty smell of smoky leather and danger. High Visibility is from a different time, full of timeless riffs and poses that aren’t really poses. Where’s your denim jacket? Yeah! Yeah! Loads of unison headbanging! I’ll be there.

Gearhead Records:

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