We wanted to be a metal band when we started back in 2004, but we realized we were really a rock ‘n roll band.
Guitarist/vocalist, Peter Yurt reflected candidly and affectionately on the last 12 years of his hard rock band, the HELLbros, and the journey thus far. But the hard work and dedication of these four bandmates began to reap the fruits of their efforts just a few years back, when their second effort, Goodtime Machine (2011), won the fan voted best rock/hard rock album of the year in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. From there, a steady momentum has continued with a new label, and a handful of fresh tunes on their latest self-titled album, which includes tracks from Goodtime Machine.
“We’re now with a label from France called, Bad Reputation. We contacted them, under a friend’s recommendation, sent them our stuff, and they liked it, released it. We wanted to initially release our EP (Calling All Giants – Sept. 2015) of our five new songs, but they wanted to put a full length out, so we amalgamated our favourite tunes from Goodtime Machine and made a Frankenstein rock record. Honestly, we find it works better than both records separately. It mixes together very well and makes it a little more diverse. It was released in Sept. 2015 in Europe…they seem to dig it. Dean Hadjichristou has been producing us…he’s a wizard. With our next full length that we’re working on right now, we want to work with him again.”
A clear development of their songwriting is displayed in these five most recent songs from the Calling All Giants EP. The music is full of infectious hooks, plenty of whoop-ass guitar riffing, rhythm variations/textures, and changing melodies that keep your attention front and center, with a hi-test energy that grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go.
“I Heart Drugs”, immediately brings me back to the spirited anthemic hard rock sounds of bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead. “Hate”, chimes in with a power chord intro that induces one into head-banging fever from the get-go, as does my personal fave, “Father Time”, a textured piece that breaks from its galloping beat into a deliciously dark half-time drop and back.
let’s play rock ‘n roll and write really good tunes, and just rock the bleep out on stage
The diversity of flavours continues with the very System Of A Down feel of, “Shoot The Horse”, and its three-quarter timed brooding minor-chorded melody, whereas “Give Up The Ghost” offers a contrast with its faster galloping rhythm that pulsates with insane drum fills. The gruff growl of Peter Yurt’s lead vocals completes the power-laden hard rock package in nearly all the material.
“Back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, we would have been labelled as heavy metal, but now it’s hard rock. It’s all rock ‘n roll really…metal, punk, etc., it all comes into the mix. What got me into punk rock was that anyone can play it, and it gave me the courage to play live. But all that old school metal stuff is certainly a big part of our influence. We also love classic rock…Deep Purple, AC/DC…who doesn’t?”
“That kind of snuck up on us, because we were raised on 90’s skate punk, which was influenced from 80’s thrash, speed metal, etc., so it’s all come full circle. That’s when the band really hit our stride, when we thought, “let’s not pretend we can play guitar and write metal tunes, let’s play rock ‘n roll and write really good tunes, and just rock the bleep out on stage.”
And that they did, as I saw demonstrated with a recent late night set at Ottawa’s pinball/perogie, and live music mecca, House Of Targ this past weekend. The power of their music was magnified in their sheer wall of sound and energetic stage presence by brothers, Peter and Christian Yurt on guitars/vocals, Josh Roy on drums/vocals, and Matt ’Spag’ Collins on bass/vocals. They displayed a clear connectivity with each other on stage, an electric connection with the crowd, and a tightness achieved from years of playing together. I was blown away.
All I know is that as long as you’re having a good time, you gotta ride that wave.
The HELLbros continue on their successful path, with a newly recorded and yet-to-be-released single, “Feed It”, mixed by industry heavy hitter, Mike Fraser, as well as their first European tour, which will cover six countries during the entire month of June 2016. Peter Yurt tells me about what’s on the band’s agenda after the tour:
“We have about a half an album’s worth of material written. When we get back, it’ll be pedal to the metal writing new tunes and finishing them off. You know, playing music and getting older, it comes down to what do you want to do with your life. A lot of people want to have a band and keep their full-time jobs for that security. It’s a rare kind of psycho that wants to pursue it a little bit further. I think we’re teetering on that right now…sitting on a fence and hopping over to see what it would be like. All I know is that as long as you’re having a good time, you gotta ride that wave. And we’ve been doing it now for over a decade. It’s kind of crazy…we were just a bunch of kids back then. Ahh – we’re still a bunch of kids.”
Listen to the latest single, “Shoot the Horse” below:
For more info on the HELLbros, and to purchase their latest single, and self-titled European-released album, please visit their website.