The Hellacopters

Record Review

Phases and Stages

The Hellacopters

High Visibility (Gearhead) From early Bob Seger covers to the straight-faced Kissisms of 1999's Grande Rock, Sweden's Hellacopters have trophied their Yankee influences like kill stickers on the nose of an American gunship. With High Visibility, almost a decade into their mission to bomb corporate metal back to the stone age, they're finally ready to solo. Last year's import, following assorted Euro EPs and singles, High Visibility not only strips away Grande Rock's shabby flash, it's a tacit acknowledgment that the furious, amphetamine punk-metal rush of Payin' the Dues, also from 1999 -- while breathtaking -- was ultimately suicide. When you rev up anything that high, something's gonna blow. Not the tempered tempo of High Visibility. In fact, the best track here is the slowest, "No Song Unheard," an exquisitely wistful combination of lilt and swagger, like Bon Jovi if they'd been cooler. Its follow-up, "Truckloads of Nothin'," a beautiful near miss, demonstrates that like its predecessor, the 'Copters have always been a bit askew in their assemblages of choruses, bridges, verses. "No One's Gonna Do It For You," another ballad by the band's previous standards, almost matches "No Song Unheard" in anthemic acoustics. Not that there aren't a number of rocket-launched bull's-eyes here, notably opener "Hopeless Case of a Kid in Denial," "Sometimes I Don't Know," and Chuck Berry ode "I Wanna Touch." "A Heart Without a Home" is pure, metallic Lynyrd Skynyrd. Wonder if it's ever occurred to these guys that all the seminal metal bands have been European?

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