For a band with a reputation for bonkers bombast, Hellions’ third album should be as mad as a box of frogs wearing baggy trousers at a tea party… but it’s not.
While the rulebook for cohesion has been thrown out the window, with the 10 tracks veering between brooding metalcore and bouncy pop-rock, Opera Oblivia is not only a little tame but uninspiring too. Taking obvious cues from the runaway success of Beartooth and Islander, the album is littered with gang vocal choruses eyeing up bigger venues, but the edge is missing.
Opener 24 is earnest but resembles nothing approaching metal, and Bad Way makes that long-trodden journey between white-guy-nu-metal-rapping and harsh vocals that needn’t be explored again. The more menacing Lotus Eater is the moment Hellions’ jigsaw begins to fit together; simple and infectious, its sinister aesthetic adds a much-needed vitality. A jumble of ideas creates the odd glimmer, but like a bad one night stand it’s over quickly and doesn’t stick around to leave an impression.