So, about 10 years ago, I went into the local used CD/record store to check their metal selection. I was really big into Metallica and Pink Floyd at the time but I wanted something that was a bit more fast-paced, crunchier, and a bit crazier. As per usual, the counter of the store was stacked about 3 feet high with CDs and LPs they had just bought. And in a weird, almost fate-like circumstance, all of the CDs had their bottom spine showing (the one that has the plastic ridges and no information) showing except for one: Hellbilly Deluxe.
I had already heard “Dragula” many times on the radio and seen the video a few times while at friend’s houses. I had enjoyed it, but not enough to go out and buy a brand new copy. Now, here was my opportunity to get it for basically half the price of a new CD. I decided to give it a shot. This album seemed like it could fit my criteria. Plus, the cover artwork was sweet.
After a creepy spoken word intro, the album gets underway with “Superbeast”. Anyone who has heard this song can attest to how driving and heavy it is. This track is ripe with effects, synths, programmed beats and thick guitars. It’s awesome and still as driving as the first time I heard it.
But how does the album fare now? Well, to be honest, when the album came out it already had a “dated” feel. No offense there. I mean, isn’t that what the album was going for? Putting aside the futuristic sounds and crisp production, everything about the album screamed out vintage horror. I imagined creepy black and white laboratories where glass vials and tubes bubbled with menacing liquids. I pictured a dark night where clouds slowly moved past a full moon. I envisioned foggy forests where tree branches looked like skeleton arms. With that kind of atmosphere, the album already felt like a fine wine: aged and more enjoyable for it.
Is the album perfect? No, of course not. Some of the tracks feel a wee bit like filler and at a clock time of less than 40 minutes, there isn’t enough time to really sink your teeth into the mood. Just like the classic Hammer House of Horror TV episodes, with a little more time to work with, Hellbilly Deluxe could’ve been a classic.
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