Released: 2009, Scarlet Records
Italy’s Allhelluja formed a mere six years ago (2003) and have already put out two full-length albums. That’s some quick work! It seems that the band impressed someone at Scarlet Records as their first two albums were released before the band was even three years old. I guess the days of slogging it out on the demo circuit are officially over. Anyway, BREATH YOUR SOUL is the band’s third release and my first exposure to them.
I like to listen to new bands without any preconceptions, so I never read the label bios until after I’ve listened to the album. As such, I had no idea what to expect when I first spun this album. After a pointless into (called “Intro”!), the band kick into gear with “Face to Face with the Devil”. The band’s love of Pantera-styled groove was immediately apparent, as were the Phil Anselmo wannabe vocals. Uh-oh. I can’t stand this style, so this was going to be a long listening experience. Fortunately, things pick up with “The Eve of Despair”, which incorporated a stoner metal sensibility into the nu-metalisms. The vocals are just as irritating, but I can live with this.
The next few songs (up to and including “Bloodtrip”) carry on in much the same way. “The Black Jar” speeds up the pace a bit and goes even deeper into stoner territory – it’s probably the best song on the album. Then we hit the cover of “21st Century Schizoid Man”. It’s OK; not bad, but not great either. But from there it’s like someone hit a switch and the album falls apart. I don’t know what happened, but the rest of the album is just not nearly as passable as the first half – even with a cover of the awesomeness that is “Into the Void”. Note that I said the song was awesome, not Allhelluja’s cover of it. Elsewhere, “The Bible Babylon” is just excruciating with its slow and drawn out for no reason “atmospherics”.
It’s abundantly clear that at best, Allhelluja (really bad name by the way) are a middle of the pack band. Their marriage of stoner metal to groove metal is interesting, but also inherently flawed; most tough-guy groove metal sucks (see, Hemlock). Unfortunately, BREATH YOUR SOUL is no different.