Released: 2010, AFM
Some years back the bassist of Helloween decided to create a new project to get his say and explore other musical realms. The result was Kickhunter and they have just put out album number three in the form of ALL IN. Kickhunter has quite a few people in the band and a number of people as guests making this a bit more of an all encompassing ‘all-star’ project than a strict group. This is the band that let’s the musicians showcase their classic rock and melodic rock sensibilities. Despite a number of people with metal pedigree, this really is a 70’s inspired classic rock act.
ALL IN is heavy by any stretch of the imagination but it is fun. It reaches at the height of it’s power about a Chameleon-era level of heaviness as evidenced by tracks like ‘Revolution’. The rest of the album is a semi-schizophrenic mixture of 70’s hard rock especially with the Hammond organ, some country-esque stuff with slide guitar, a bit of bluesy Hard Rock, and some funky, boogie shuffle on ‘Boogie Town’. It’s all over the musical map but that is precisely what this type of project is for, stretching out, incorporating a general love of rock music in it’s myriad forms, all infused with a sense of fun. I hear hints of solo era David Lee Roth, namely an infectious sense of energy without committing to one specific sound.
A couple of covers grace ALL IN to give it a bit of extra flavour. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Kickhunter cover the Victory tune ‘Checks In The Mail’. It was quite a big hit back in Germany in the mid-80’s and even though I’d imagine most North Americans are not as familiar with the song, I certainly enjoyed it back in the day. The next cover song is a version of Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ which, for an 80’s pop tune, was never that great to begin with and has already covered a few times previously by Dungeon, Cadaveria and In This Moment. Another low point is the painfully sappy ballad ‘Deep In My Heart’. I love sappy ballads but this sounds like an acoustic ABBA song with the male/female vocal counterpoint with mild acoustic campfire strumming. It's a pretty song but it's out of place. These minor deviances are forgivable in an otherwise solid record.
I’m not sure this will have too much appeal for the die-hard metal crowd or even a younger Metal/Rock crowd who have never enjoyed hearing Hammond organs in their music. However, for me as an older fan of Hard Rock in general this is a real treat.