"Rock Hell" (Earache/Wicked World; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

What happens when you combine the lethal strains of melodic death metal with classic riffing of hard rock? You'd get Gandalf's "Rock Hell" and you'd probably call it 'death rock.' Gandalf remind me of a cross between In Flames and AC/DC; while this description may not be accurate for every single song it does a great job getting across the basic idea of Gandalf's sound. Gandalf hail from the fertile musical grounds of Finland.

The aggressive vocals are straight from the Swedish school of melodic death metal growling. The music is fairly straightforward with the focus on riff-oriented material that is somewhat simple yet memorable.  "Human Value Zero" and "Geysir" are a good tracks that showcase the band's strength in mid-paced rockers that have texture and substance.  "Live To Suffer" perfectly combines the styles of In Flames and AC/DC in a weird but effective alchemy. The songs tend to be a bit long for my tastes as far as hard rock goes as most tracks exceed four minutes in length. However, there are plenty of catchy hooks and great hooks despite the songs' fairly traditional song structures. 

Gandalf bridge the gap between hard rock and melodic death metal in a way I've not yet heard before. "Rock Hell" would be a good starting point for fans of heavy metal who haven't quite gathered the strength to listen to In Flames or Gardenian on a regular basis.

Gandalf is Jari Hurskainen on vocals, Timo Nyberg on guitars, Kimmo Aroluoma on bass, and Nalle Osterman on drums. 

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:28 -0400.