Despite what the title of their new album might suggest, the Scandinavian rock revival is in full swing and The Hellacopters from Sweden are at the head of the pack. Rock & Roll is Dead is bubbling over with vintage rock sensibility, producing a timeless gem of anthemic tunes.Blasting off with a textbook Chuck Berry lick, “Before the Fall” is a fast-paced rock & roll boogie, complete with staccato piano. Once the pace is set, The Hellacopters twist and turn through a varied palate of hooks and riffs. “Monkeyboy” is a fun upbeat track with a strong Thin Lizzy vibe that reappears throughout the album, especially on the darker “Make it Tonight.” “No Angel To Lay Me Away” slows things down a bit for some good ol’ Skynyrd-style southern-fried rock, complete with soulful female backing vocals and dueling guitars. “Bring It On Home” is a fast-paced adrenaline rush that hints at the band’s punk roots. The biting critique of the record industry, “Murder on My Mind,” is as infectious as it is scathing.
Singer Nicke Royale crafts playful lyrics that borrow heavily from rock archetypes with a dab of social commentary. In “Everything’s On TV” he sarcastically delivers: “No I don’t have to go out / I’ll just stay inside – it keeps me company / I have all I need because everything is on TV.” He jokes about paying dues on stage and on the road in the tongue-in-cheek “I’m in the Band.”
If Rock & Roll is Dead, then The Hellacopters must be necromancers, calling on a sound from beyond the grave that’s a must-have for any true rock fan.