'Bastards & Outlaws'
On the banks of the river Moselle near the German/Luxembourg border lies the city of Trier, which is home to the Hard Rock quartet know as Blessed Hellride.
Founded in 2010, the band have been developing their sound and broke cover in December of that year with the release of their first EP, 'Evil Side Of Life'. The following year, the band collaborated on a music video for the title track, with the co-operation of students from Trier University of Applied Sciences in by mid-2011.
As with any band, line up changes are inevitable and it was in 2012 that the original line up started to implode. The original frontman was replaced by the strangely monikered Tiny Fuel whilst the exotically named Oos Oos moved from bass guitar duties to take up lead guitar instead with the bass guitar position finally filled in 2015 with the addition of El Fritto.
Before that, however, the band released the 'Booze n' Roll' EP in early 2013 which garnered good reviews in Germany but the band still had a plan to breakout further into Europe. All the while, they were strengthening their live skills with a number of club gigs and Biker meetings throughout Germany and also headlined the Metallergrillen Warmup in Dielkirchen, in front of an impressive 20,000 people.
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As bands do these days, Blessed Hellride launched a crowd-funding campaign and the results of that campaign are clear for all to see with the release of their debut full length album, 'Bastards & Outlaws', a fourteen track opus that mixes groovy guitar riffs and catchy vocal lines with an avalanche of sound as they passionately champion the old adage that is "Booze n' Roll"!
You have to wonder, though, which came first – the song title of 'Blessed Hellride' or the band name? I'm not sure, to be honest, but what I definitely am sure of is that it's a great song that absolutely typifies this band. A long guitar intro before drums of Captain kick in, and the song really starts. Well I say "really starts" but your pretty much a minute in before the vocals from frontman Tiny Fuel start so that gives Captain time to lay down the heavy beat whilst the guitar from Oos Oos and Jack Stoned leads you in. The vocals certainly have a hint of menace about then which just adds an extra something to the song, but nothing here seems rushed and the sing benefits because of that.
Further down the line you have 'Gevatter Tod' which is another great number. The title translates in English as "Godfather Death" and was one of the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, apparently. The song's topped by a tolling bell before the guitar and drums kick in on what is a relatively mid-paced number which doesn't stick strictly to the original story but instead includes a couple of elements from it. That aside, this track firmly supplanted itself as a favourite of mine from the very first listen and countless times later, I'm still of that opinion!
The band have also included a couple of slower paced numbers including 'Helldorado' early on. It's a deceptively heavy number with a much slower simpler section which breaks the track up as Fuel's vocals go from straightforward singing to whispered before the guitar solo kicks in which is good if not very inventive. 'Goddamn Hippie' continues the slower pace and has the guitar stab occasionally adding to the overall sound. This is something of a trademark for the band as these stabs appear to run through several numbers. having said that, bass player El Fritto comes across well at times and along with the beat laid down by Captain as they show what a formidable rhythm section the pair are.
'Moonshine Saloon', on the other hand, is more of an upbeat number with the inventive use of a talk box on the guitar sound at the start before the main guitar riff settle in. Fuel's at his most accessible here with a softer and more upbeat vocal performance than on some tracks, and his accent really coming across here adding a bit of something extra to good phrasing.
Of course there are the faster paced numbers too, of which 'Devils Ride' is head and shoulders above the rest. The guitar riff drives the sing onwards with those trademark guitar stabs adding extra texture whilst the tracks helped on its way by the catchy chorus. Captain again shows just a hint of his skill during the instrumental mid-section before the guitar solo eases in to steal all the glory.
Tucked away towards the end of the album is 'Dead Man's Blues' which sounds like it's going to be the token acoustic number, and shows that this band are much more than bluff and bluster with a more sensitive sound, especially from Fuel, but he still manages to give a pretty full on performance at times. The acoustic guitar is backed up by a soaring electric guitar that eventually takes over the rest of the track as they band revert to type with a full electric performance towards the end.
Overall it's an interesting album with a lot going for it, and if you're looking for something a bit different, then this album could very well be what you're looking for, for me, however, it's not an album I can see myself going back to very often.
You can see the official lyric video for 'Dead Man's Blues' here:
'Bastards & Outlaws' Track Listing:
Blood Red River
Dead Man's Blues
Shame On You
Bastards & Outlaws