Long-hair Swedish retro-modern rockers the Hellacopters, have released their latest album "Rock & Roll is Dead" in Europe this past week to great reviews among metal-pop heads everywhere. I'd never even heard of them until arriving in Stockholm a few days ago, but I saw posters everywhere and kept hearing their music so I finally broke down and bought three of their CDs while I was here. Hopefully the new album will be released in the US, but I doubt the R-Rated video of "Everything's on TV" will get airplay anytime soon. The CD has a several very catchy songs such as "Before the Fall" and "Murder on My Mind" and, unfortunately, a couple of throw-aways like "I'm in the Band."
Long-time fans may find the music has mellowed a bit, but I would say the music has progressed from its MC5 raw punk thrash inspiration to be a lot more fun. Die-hard fans may find "Leave it Alone" to be a bit too mellow, but I found it to be a nice vintage Stones style R&B number from the "Some Girls" era. So instead of just having raw energy the last couple of albums demonstrate a greater versatility, better production, and, lets face it, catchier melodies. There's still some great wailing guitar solos, but its now more accessible now. I'm not sure I'd label it as punk, more like 70's metal inspired (think post makeup KISS meets the Hives with better guitar playing) and you'll not be far wrong.
Check out their website for gigs in Europe, samples of the music, videos and more. If you can't find the Hellacopters CDs in stock you can get the equally excellent "High Visibility" CD or invidividual songs from MSN Music or iTunes.