Hungarian Nu Punks The Hellfreaks return with their fourth album ‘God On The Run’. Formed in 2009 the Budapest based band released 2 albums of cool psychobilly punk rock (‘Hell Sweet Hell’ and ‘Circus Of Shame’) before disbanding. After a period of ‘creative reinvention’ singer Shakey Sue returned with a whole new band and released the critically acclaimed ‘Astoria’ in 2016. This third Hellfreaks album saw the band leave their psychobilly roots for dust and head in a more hardcore punk rock direction that saw them gain comparisons to The Distillers and Hole. ‘Astoria’ took the band spitting and snarling across Europe and the US to a whole new fanbase.
2020 sees the band evolve yet again as they challenge themselves to reach new horizons with ‘God On The Run’.
The three tracks released prior to the album promise a more modern metal approach, with precision song dynamics, frantic beats and anthemic choruses aplenty. And while the band has gone for a heavier approach this time around, the melodies retain the pop/punk sensibilities that Shakey Sue has been delivering for the last decade.
Lead single ‘Men In Grey’ is a furious introduction and a statement of intent. Sue puts those lungs to work as Jozzy’s angular guitar riffage weaves sonic metal over the tight rhythm section of bassist Gabi and Bela on the drums. It’s a full on, modern metal assault on the senses. One thing’s for sure, in 2020 The Hellfreaks are gonna bang the head that doesn’t bang!
‘Red Sky’ is the sort of single that can give the likes of Halestorm a run for their money. Crunching guitars and high octane vocals battle for competition to unite the kids and have them chanting the memorable chorus. ‘Witches Heal’ follows the same format, a modern metal single with a stadium sized chorus, this one designed to bring out the inner witch and have you dancing underneath the stars like you just don’t care.
Frantic beats and precision rifforama create urgency with no let up. The likes of ‘Hello Sea’ and ‘As Above’ show a band in their prime as songwriters and players, who have delivered an album that stands tall alongside their contemporaries.
With its tribal beat introduction, Maiden-esque backing vocals and handclap accompaniment ‘Adrenalized’ is surprisingly, one of the standout tracks on offer. It must surely be the next single.
Elsewhere, album closer ‘Tabby’ is almost industrial in feel, as Sue wails over a cinematic soundscape. The sleazy vocals are delivered nonchalantly as you like, Sunset Strip style, as jarring guitars fade in and out between the swathes of electronica. The whole song comes on like classic Garbage, Sue certainly channels her inner Shirley Manson to great effect here. Possibly the coolest cut on the goddamn record, I tell ya!
The thing that grabs me about The Hellfreaks is their ability to change and explore new horizons with each album. This shift in style keeps things fresh and does not allow the band to become stagnant or generic. Sure, they risk alienating their old school fanbase, but there is a whole hoard of teenage metal heads crying out for a bit of what Shakey Sue and her boys are offering this time around.
‘God On The Run’ is a strong album, a heady mix of punk and metal that should catapult the band to headline status and gain them fans and friends in all the right places.
Buy ‘God On The Run’ Here
Author: Ben Hughes