"Rock & Roll Is Dead" (Liquor & Poker; 2006)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Shortly after I learned that Nicke Andersson had left Entombed permanently to focus on his side project, The Hellacopters, I decided I couldn't be bothered to add another band to my ever-growing list of must-have, day of release purchases.

Then, slowly but surely, I kept hearing The Hellacopter singles (on compilations and such) and the odd song here and there and grew to appreciate The Hellacopters' decidedly fundamental rock'n'roll style. Eventually I started buying The Hellacopters' albums when I had the chance key highlights include an early classic ("Super Shitty To The Max"), a mid-era semi-gem ("Grande Rock"), and an odds-n-sods collection ("Cream Of The Crap, Volume 2") that sounds a whole lot better than its tongue in check title suggests.

I recently made a semi-conscious decision to listen to more classic rock as a way to revisit my youth when I was becoming enamored with music. The Rolling Stones are one of the few bands that I am consistently exploring to a significant degree via full-length albums rather than just singles that you'd typically hear on the radio or other greatest hits packages. And from this newfound appreciation of the Rolling Stones I began to fully see the light of what The Hellacopters had to offer.

"Rock & Roll Is Dead" is The Hellacopters' sixth full-length album and it was originally released in Europe and Scandinavia in late 2004. Stateside this album sees its official release in early 2006 and not a moment too soon. The disc starts with a classic Chuck Berry-styled riff which actually caught me off guard for a second anyway. The riffs and songs throughout "Rock & Roll Is Dead" are well constructed, but it's the vocal hooks that will really grab a listener's attention. And therein lies the band's greatest improvement since the early days of "Super Shitty To The Max." Last, but not least, the band's sense of humor remains intact which lends levity to the proceedings.

The band's sound has evolved in both improved songwriting and slicker production, but neither of these features detracts from the fact that The Hellacopters are still good at what they do simply rock out. "Rock & Roll Is Dead" is 40 minutes of pure rock'n'roll joy.

"Rock & Roll Is Dead" was produced by Chips Kiesby.

The Hellacopters: Nicke Andersson on vocals and guitar, Jens Robert Dahlqvist on guitar, Anders "Boba" Lindstrom on keyboards, Kenny Hakansson on bass, and Matz Robert Eriksson on drums.

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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.


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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2023 14:32:29 -0400 .