Saturday, February 19, 2011


The latest release from Finland’s HB has piqued my attention for sometime now. Not having heard them before I was unclear what to expect. There have been comparisons with Nightwish circulating for the last several years, with many fans and other critics claiming epic symphonic metal.

The Jesus Metal Explosion is the title of the current HB album and an amalgam of assorted musical styles it is. Hard Rock, Elements of Heavy Metal, Symphonic overtones, Power Pop and pure Balladry shine throughout this musical offering, without a true musical focus. As I listened I harkened back to Stryper’s early musical exploits where you’d find 2-3 heavy metal songs, 3-4 pop rock tunes and 2 ballads. It was often hard to nail down what you were gonna get. The Jesus Metal Explosion is very similar in those aspects.

Album opener and title track kicks things in a solid anthemic hard rock style, yet the following two songs are much more radio designed with pop leanings. Heavy Metal is primarily a guitar driven medium and while HB clearly has feet in that genre, the amount of guitar in the mix varies so much that it almost gets lost amidst the vocals and keyboards.

Three ballads are offered, Hands of Time, Abandoned, and The Lord of Lords. They are beautiful melodic and worshipful, but not heavy metal. It would seem they would be more appropriate on an album of CCM.

In addition to the strong title track other driving rockers include Joy Upon the Lord, King’s Design, and Nightmare. These songs show that HB does know how to cut loose and deliver a blistering musical attack to accompany their intense lyrical offerings. The guitar solo on King’s Design is sheer joy.

The songs are well crafted and the performances are substantial. A tightly slick production wraps this 10 song affair in a neat and perfect package. However if the guitar was allowed to breathe and be more forthright this disc would contain the metal explosion that is very much trying to escape amidst the keyboard drenched melodies.

Strong lyrical content is evident and it should be noted that English is the second (or third) language spoken amongst the band. So if you’re feeling that a slight cheese factor is evident in the lyrics (no complaints from me) you might want to take that in account. Make no mistake that HB is here to lift up the name of Jesus, amen to that.

The Jesus Metal Explosion provides the listener with a well produced album of enjoyable hard rock melodies. Symphonic elements are evident throughout, yet if a driving guitar were more consistently heard throughout perhaps the explosion hoped for, would have been achieved.

7 axes


1 comment:

Selah said...

I agree with you, they are very similar to CCM, nevertheless in my opinion they have very good arrangements. But i would not compare hb to nightwish either despite they sound symphonic.