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On disc: Hellwell

Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin - Lars Bjørn - 5 stars

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Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin

Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin
(High Roller Records - 2012)

Mark Shelton from Manilla Road is on the air again with a solo project, a group called Hellwell (not to be compared to the French band of the same name).

This new album could be seen as another direction, but the result is not the greatest that has come from Shelton's hands during his time in music. 7 songs of different styles but mostly inspired by the sound from the 70's psychedelic rock songs. Of course there is a lot of guitars as it is a Shelton project, and the first song is The Strange Case Of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes where we get the ears filled with powerful guitars in a rather bizarre kind of stoner rock. Eaters Of The Dead is anonymous metal with a confusing line in the song, and it's not helping that Shelton's vocal performance is not the sharpest of the lot. Keepers Of The Devils Inn starts with a mid-tempo keyboard intro that could be taken from Deep Purple's sound in the 70's and 80's but not very elegant, then Shelton fills it up with more and more guitars for the listeners. Deadly Nightshade gets more power in the metal rock and the keyboards get another show on this track. Tomb Of The Unnamed One is more or less standard hard tempo metal but with a core that gives the song a strange halfhearted image. The Heart Of Ahriman is one of the best songs here with hard driven guitars kept in the 70's metal style and a sharpness that should have been on all the songs. End Of Days is a long confusing track, symphonic space music where the guitar playing comes out through the ribs without any specific direction.

A shame that a skilled guy like Mark Shelton can make such an album of non focusing strange songs.

5 stars

Lars Bjørn


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