I got my first, unforgettable taste of Hell’s Addiction when I watched the video for “Alcohol” on YouTube in 2012. It’s a deceptively simple video, shot in black and white. Four guys, looking like they just woke up after a night of drinking too hard and sleeping too rough, walk into a tiny little room and grab their instruments. Then, without further ado, they set off a gut-ripping, chest-thumping, blistering hot blast of rock’n’roll that captures exactly what it feels like when you’re roaming the streets and bars on a good weekend, desperate to party your brains out.
The four guys with the stick-of-dynamite energy from that video are Luke Morley on drums, beating that kit with enough power to jumpstart your heart; Jason Green on bass and Liam Sargent on guitar looking and sounding as though they’re about to rip the strings off their instruments with their fingers; and frontman Ben Sargent with a voice that is all booze and gravel and broken glass – it’ll scratch your ear-drums to shreds in a very pleasurable way.
Together, they play a fierce and furious combination of hooky old-school rock’n’roll, hard rock with an occasional metal twist, all of it welded together by a gritty and feverish punk-rock heat.
I had high expectations for this album, and “Raise Your Glass” does not disappoint. The first track, “Feels Like Rock N Roll” has a rollicking, classic 60s/70s beat to it, with Sargent’s voice and the band’s energy pushing things into party-hard territory. The guys crank it up another notch on “Let The Good Times Roll”, a party-rocker with the great drunken pickup-line “you got your tits in my face, come on baby, gimme a taste”.
“Alcohol” still holds up as one of my favorite tracks, but there are lots of other goodies too: the swinging and rumbling “Heaven Sent Me”; “Feel The Fire” with its heavy 70s rock vibe and Morley outdoing himself on drums; and “Big Bitch” with some delicious bass, thumping riffs, and lots of ear-pleasing guitar-work.
Even on the one slow track, the hit-worthy “Brand New Story” the band keeps it heavy and fierce, with a slow-burning intensity smouldering below the bluesy guitar. On this one track, Sargent’s voice decloaks briefly to let some vulnerability shine through before going full-frontal with the roughness again.
The album closes with “Raise Your Glass” and “Wings Of An Angel”, two head-banging, punishing slamming tunes; with no angelic choirs in sight.
Rough, raw, and relentlessly rocking – that’s Hell’s Addiction for you. This is not refined music, it is blistering and bruising, with the influences of old-schoolers like AC/DC and Motorhead, and maybe even some Sex Pistols bristling through. Crack open a beer, crank this album up as loud as you can, and get ready for Hell’s Addiction to set off the explosives.
- Ben Sargent: vocals, guitar
- Liam Sargent: lead guitar, backing vocals
- Jason Green: bass, vocals
- Luke Morley: drums
- Feels Like Rock N Roll
- Let The Good Times Roll
- Heaven Sent Me
- Breaking Free
- Feel The Fire
- Big Bitch
- Brand New Story
- Raise Your Glass
- Wings Of An Angel
(This review was originally published at Hard Rock Nights.)