Hailing from Sweden, House of Heavy have released their self-titled debut album. Henrik Lundberg and Mattias Wellhag joined together to bring forth their debut album of rock and roll tunes meant to satiate the ear. On the album, Lundberg plays lead guitar, bass guitar, and provides the backing vocals, while Wellhag contributes the lead vocals, drums & keyboards programming, and a second guitar. For their debut release, House of Heavy was striving for metal in the vein of the 80s sunset strip heyday, looking to capture that sleek sound and style on record.
House of Heavy opens with a lot of promise. HoH is the lead track that starts with the dialing of a phone, reminiscent of Hurricane’s Baby Snakes from their debut album, Over The Edge. What separates the tracks though is the fact that HoH is not about a loser stalking his high school dream via telephone; at the end of this ringing line is House of Heavy and they kick your teeth in with an awesome guitar lead and hard hitting drums that bleed right into the next number, “War Paint”.
Notable tracks on this record include “War Paint”, “Ride Shotgun”, “Crash and Burn”, and “Tomorrow May Never Come”, which all have a heavy, sleazy, glam rock vibe to them. The songs transport you back to the earlier times of hair metal and deliver the late 80s mantra of women, sex, fast cars, and hard living. These songs remind you of the fun partying days of youth where there were no cares in the world other than the next bottle of booze and where the next party was going to be.
The coolest song on House of Heavy, by far, is their remake of Def Leppard’s “Billy’s Got A Gun”. While Wellhag’s vocals can’t compare with Joe Elliot’s, House of Heavy did this song justice with a true cover of the Leppard classic. The high notes were not a challenge for Wellhag, and the song is recreated note for note in classic Def Leppard style. This song was a great addition to this album.
Wellhag’s voice is decent for this album, sounding like a cross between Kip Winger and David Coverdale. Lundberg’s guitar playing is solid, and definitely completes the 80s feel that these two were searching for while in the recording studio. The problem with House of Heavy is that all the songs sound alike and are unable to distinguish themselves from one another. This is ultimately the downfall of the record.
Unfortunately, House of Heavy suffers from mediocrity. While the songs have the 80s feel to them in the vein of Europe, Winger, Whitesnake, or early Dokken, the tunes seem to lack the punch and delivery that the hits those bands released were peppered with. While overall not a bad album, House of Heavy is missing an element that would push them into the top of the must have bin. If you’re a fan of 80s metal, you might want to pick this up for some head banging fun, but if you’re looking for a metal head’s dream, this isn’t the release to own.
4. A Hard Mans Lyric
5. Ride Shotgun
6. God vs God
8. Tomorrow May Never Come
9. Crash And Burn
10. My Black Rose
11. No Friend Of Mine
12. The Blues
13. Billy´s Got A Gun (Def Leppard cover)
House of Heavy is:
Henrik Lundberg – Lead guitar, bass guitar, and backing vocals
Mattias Wellhag – Lead vocals, drums & keyboard programming, and rhythm guitar
Long before the onslaught of Swedish glam & sleeze that is being released today, there was this kick ass metal band from Sweden called Masquerade. My first introduction to the band was with their second CD, Surface of Pain, that was released in the United States via Metal Blade Records. Masquerade has a sound that falls somewhere in between the sound of Dream Theater & Queensryche. The music is heavy with a touch of progressive metal for good measure.
Surface of Pain has a bunch of cool tunes including “Judas Kiss”, “Suffering”( listen to this song below), “America” and “Mercy Me”. In my opinion, there really isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Tony Johansson’s voice might not be in the same league as Geoff Tate’s, but his vocals have a huge impact on the songs here. He has a solid range, and his style seems to be a good mesh with Thomas G:son’s guitar work.
It is a shame that a CD this good was majorly over looked by the masses. This is a solid effort by
Masquerade. The band should have had a lot more success with Surface of Pain.
Although Masquerade is not together currently, a couple of the band members have been active in other bands. Singer Tony Yoanson was singing in the band Nocturnal Alliance, while Henrick Lundberg is playing bass for House of Heavy.
For more information on Masquerade, check out the band’s myspace page here.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Judas Kiss
2. Say Your Prayer
3. State of Grace
5. End of Nothing
7. God of Man
9. Feels Good
11. Mercy Me
12. Free My Mind
Thomas G:son – guitar
Tony Johansson – vocals
Marco Tapani – drums
Henrik Lundberg – bass