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House Of Heavy - "House Of Heavy" (CD)

House Of Heavy - "House Of Heavy" CD cover image

"House Of Heavy" track listing:

1. HOH (1:41)
2. Warpaint (5:25)
3. Pure (4:28)
4. A Hard Mans Lyric (5:23)
5. Ride Shotgun (4:28)
6. God vs. God (5:03)
7. Broken (4:45)
8. Tomorrow May Never Come (4:56)
9. Crash And Burn (5:19)
10. My Black Rose (1:40)
11. No Friend Of Mine (4:06)
12. The Blues (4:37)
13. Billy's Got A Gun (5:04)
14. Stay (6:00)

Reviewed by on March 29, 2009

"Probably never before have I come across an album that can tame the beast in fans of traditional metal, while still appealing to glam and radio metal listeners. "

When you listen to Swedish metal band House Of Heavy, it quickly becomes apparent that bassist Henrik Lundberg was raised on a healthy dose of Slayer and Megadeth, while vocalist and guitarist Mattias Wellhag rocked out to Van Halen and 80s glam stars. The fact that these two didn’t knock each other out in a battle of the genres is amazing, but even more phenomenal is the fact that they formed their own band, and combined the best of both sounds to create something unique.

Probably never before have I come across an album that can tame the beast in fans of traditional metal, while still appealing to glam and radio metal listeners. With an opening track that actually should be lumped into the intro to the second song, "Warpaint," House Of Heavy begins with a relentless bass drum and a quarter note attack on bass guitar, before the surprisingly high range, melodic glam style vocals of Wellhag enter the scene.

Wellhag’s voice is good, but not fantastic, while having the chameleon quality of sounding at times anywhere from Ozzy to David Lee Roth to Axl Rose, sans the screams. But no matter whether he’s rocking out on an arena rock or anthemic tune, or adding a touch of industrial distorted sounds like on "A Hard Mans Lyric," the assault provided courtesy of the bass and drums never stops. The best example of their unique style is probably "Ride Shotgun," which opens with a mosh pit inducing intro, before leading you through a chorus that sounds like a beefed up metal version of Van Halen’s "Jamie’s Cryin," and finally, an ending that makes you feel like you’re listening to USC’s marching band.

Fans of Disturbed should pay special attention to tracks three and eleven, "Pure," and "No Friend Of Mine," respectively. "Pure" has a good blend of barely discernible classic piano tucked beneath a spiraling, sustained guitar, and "No Friend Of Mine" even has a breakdown distorted and twisted enough to entice some Slipknot fans.

One aspect that shouldn’t be ignored in "House Of Heavy" is its carefully woven industrial sound. Even the quirky "God vs. God," which actually opens with an organ and choir rendition of "Amazing Grace," progresses into an industrial/progressive rock tune near the end. The darkest industrial sound appears on track nine, "Crash And Burn," before Wellhag’s melodic vocals transform it into an epic arena rock chorus.

The biggest surprise, though, comes with the aptly named tune "The Blues." The intro here sounds straight out of the Mississippi Delta, and is totally unexpected, but well executed. A blistering blues guitar meshes perfectly with the pure metal chorus.

Not to ignore glam fans, my recommendation for you is track thirteen, "Billy’s Got A Gun." It provides plenty of screams and shreds to provide your fix, while not alienating more hardcore fans, as the tune isn’t as showy as the legends of this sub-genre.

House Of Heavy’s debut isn’t the best album I’ve ever heard, but it earns kudos for being pretty good as far as debuts go, and for having the balls to courageously embrace the light and dark sides of the metal scene. Though some may not like their approach, it’s a good way to establish them as something unique. Hopefully listeners won’t be so closed-minded as to pigeon-hole these guys into one specific metal sub-genre, because their style is great the way it is. This debut may not earn one of my highest ratings, but it definitely makes me excited about House Of Heavy’s future.

Highs: Incredible ability to combine glam, hardcore and industrial into something that meshes well.

Lows: A couple tracks were a bit too short, and could have benefited from some extra time and lyrics.

Bottom line: A debut album that has something to entice listeners of just about every sub-genre.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)