HELL ON EARTH

"All Things Disturbingly Sassy" (Neptune; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

You probably know this band from their national headlines:

HELL ON EARTH ANNOUNCE CANNIBALISM STUNT

SUICIDE TO TAKE PLACE DURING HELL ON EARTH CONCERT

And stuff like that.

But you may not have heard the band's music, which is at least part of the reason that they keep going over the top to get their name in print. If you hear their name often enough, especially in some outrageous headline, you're more likely to check them out. 

Surprisingly, "All Things Disturbingly Sassy" doesn't come close to the Slayer / Death sound that you may expect from the band's reputation. Instead, the CD is interesting, if not always successful, industrial shock rock along the lines of Marilyn Manson, KFMDM and Ministry. 

The production (by band leader Billy Tourtelot and Harry Collins) is the real star here, with the band's music and various samples and effects blending together perfectly to create the Hell on Earth sound. The songwriting is a little bland, with most songs starting at Point A and ending at Point A with little or no variance between the two. And the lyrics range from the serviceable to the silly. (It doesn't help when the lyrics printed on the CD insert include the vocalist's every nuance, i.e., from "All Hallows' Eve," "God damn it ah uh ah uh ah uh; Ah uh ahheerrr").

Overall, however, I must admit that I was surprised that Hell on Earth were anywhere near this good. With all the band's stunt posturing, it's easy to dismiss them as a band with great publicity but nothing to offer musically - and that is simply not the case.

Hell on Earth: Billy Tourtelot - vocals, lead guitars, rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards, sound bites, mandolin, programming, sampling, sequencing; Vinnie Saletto - additional programming; Paul Lydie - bass; Michael "M3" Walkowski - guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.hellonearth.net

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 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jul 2017 13:44:31 -0400.