Listening to the opener Never Turn My Back from Hell in the Club's debut Let the Games Begin, you'll swear it's 1987. Hell in the Club began with Andrea 'Andy' Buratto, bass player of Italy's Secret Sphere, desire of creating a smokin' hard rock band. He envisioned a sound straight out of 80's melodic hard rock reflecting the influences of Kiss, Motley Crue, Skid Row and Ratt. To bring his dream to life, Buratto recruited help from mates in Secret Sphere and Elvenking (also from Italy): Davide 'Dave' Moras on vocals, Andrea 'Picco' Piccardi on guitars, and Federico 'Fede' Pennazzato on drums.
With one simple spin of Let the Games Begin, one can conclude that Andy Buratto accomplished his goal. This work has 12 songs of classic Sunset Strip hard rock: a driving beat, fiery guitar licks, plenty of groove, mighty hooks, and enough swagger to fill a pair of leather pants. Buratto and company know their history and craft quite well. Fortunately, while they reflect the era, Hell in the Club does not necessarily mimic it's major heroes. In other words, while they wanted to emulate Crue and others, they're not mere clones or rip-offs of their peers.
Let the Games Begin offers some strong hard rock songs with best including Rock Down This Place, Natural Born Rockers, No Appreciation and the totally kickass On the Road. The quasi-ballad Since You're Not Here invokes more rock than syrupy sweetness, a refreshing change for a ballad. Likewise, the longer ballad offers a sublime start only to finish with a GnR style crescendo. While every song is well-crafted, some songs didn't quite catch with me including Raise Your Drinkin' Glass (too predictable) and Daydream Boulevard (not enough swagger).
Nevertheless, Hell in the Club's Let the Games Begin is exactly what founder Andy Buratto desired: a talented band made up of fun-loving guys playing kickass, catchy, and entertaining hard rock. This could be one of the best of the year. Strongly recommended.
Hell in the Club's Let the Games Begin is exactly what founder Andy Buratto desired: a talented band made up of fun-loving guys playing kickass, catchy, and entertaining hard rock. This could be one of the best of the year.
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