Album Reviews

Hellions – Opera Oblivia


This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Ambient beginnings mark the newest release from Sydney’s coveted quartet Hellions, but the transition that follows this isn’t necessarily what fans might have expected. Distinguishable from their past body of work, ‘24′ offers a choir-like infusion of the Hellions that made enormous waves among the Australian hardcore scene – Opera Oblivia promises fans a little more than a predictable album to album progression. Spritely foreign overtones inundate the song which are quickly accompanied by a fusion of self-aware clean vocals; the track concludes with a ballad like chant leaving fans of the collective apprehensive for what kind of sound exactly lays ahead.

Jarringly, the choir-like progression of ’24’ is followed with the familiarity that is Hellions signature sound. Containing the harsh elements of Punk vocals channeled with a flow reminiscent of rap music – ‘Quality Of Life’ emphasises the careful balance captured within Opera Oblivia as a whole – offering forward a final product that juxtaposes an infectious harsh and fast flow with smooth rhythmic hooks. This rise and fall structure continues across the release as an entity, as ‘Quality of Life’ fades into the third track, ‘Thresher’. As the listener transitions through the album they are greeted with an immense aural density that somehow offers a plethora of different sounds that piece together offering forward a wide spectrum of fast and slow, ambient and punchy while managing to not alienate longtime fans.

Groovier guitar tones take a strong hold, as effortless blending of punk and ballad-like vocals unveil ‘Lotus Eater’. In what I would go so far to deem as the most intriguing track of the release, the Sydney band have somehow managed to identify the sound and energy that first sold me and others like me, on them as a collective. Emulating this energy and sound Hellions go on to fuse it with an infectiously fast punchy pace, simultaneously not sacrificing the intriguing smoothness introduced through the choir like progression within ’24’. ‘Lotus Eater’ brings together the enormous spectrum of sound explored within Opera Oblivia.

Opera Oblivia works together, each track building on the last to offer listeners an immersive journey that tugs you in right from choir like tones of ’24’ and refuses to release you until ’25’ rings out. Consciously utilising the contrasting tones within tracks to create a third studio album which is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar to any sound they have produced before.

Opera Oblivia’ is out now via UNFD / Rise Records.

8.5/10