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Slik Helvetika - "Hafnium" (CD)

Slik Helvetika - "Hafnium" CD cover image

"Hafnium" track listing:

1. Misery
2. Money Tree
3. Heal Me
4. Burnt
5. Your Self
6. Hafnium
7. Reign
8. Wide
9. Fremd Gehirn Fressen
10. Cadaver
11. King Of Nowhere

Reviewed by on April 28, 2010

"There's a definite Motley Crue vibe going on on 'Hafnium,' helped by the fact that singer/guitarist Mik Myers sounds like Vince Neil with a little more grit in the glam. "

If I was Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil or Tommy Lee, I'd probably be a little torn in listening to Slik Helvetika's "Hafnium." On one hand, I'd be happy that a band obviously enjoyed what I did enough to make an album so indebted to the sounds I created in the 1980s. On the other, I'd be pretty pissed that this Pennsylvania band is doing it better than I've been capable of doing in recent years.

There's a definite Motley Crue vibe going on on "Hafnium," helped by the fact that singer/guitarist Mik Myers sounds like Vince Neil with a little more grit in the glam. He also adds a little more distortion to his guitar tone than you heard back in the day. I'm always amused by how glam revivalists like Slik Helvetika and Vains of Jenna add more punk influences than were there in glam metal's glory years. See "Your Self," with its chugging guitar line for an example of what I'm talking about. It's those little touches of modernity that keep the album from being a total nostalgia trip.

Oh sure, "Money Tree" is the best Motley Crue song they never put out (it even apes the opening of "Girls Girls Girls"), but by and large Slik Helvetika's not content to restrict itself to the lyrical dopiness that characterized the 1980s. Take, for example, the title track, "Hafnium," which is both a reference to the unique properties of the radioactive element of the same name, and an ode to Myers' late father.

I've also got to give credit to Myers for his ability to tear the fretboard up. His solos are often a highlight, with their occasional forays into Van Halen-style tapping.

Production-wise, this album's definitely more "Too Fast For Love" than "Dr. Feelgood," and on some tracks, the rawness is appealing. On others, like the partly acoustic "Reign," it makes the transitions feel a little too abrupt. The sound is also a little tinny, which definitely puts a damper on Mark Bennett's drumming and Kjell Benner's bass work.

Overall, Slik Helvetika's "Hafnium" is a fun, if a little unoriginal album that adds modernity to the sounds of vintage '80s metal.

Highs: "Money Tree," "Hafnium" and "Your Self"

Lows: Tinny production often drowns out the rhythm section.

Bottom line: A good bit of '80s-style metal with enough modern touches to keep it from being a total nostalgia trip.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)