'Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin'
(Shadow Kingdom Records / High Roller Records)
This is a side band of Mark "The Shark" Shelton, the singer of the mighty Manilla Road. Hellwell is definitely different than Manilla Road, much more punchy and dramatic. In fact, to be quite honest for my tastes it is overly dramatic. It sort of feels like Shelton wanted to write an exaggerated musical stage play, that is the feeling I get listening to 'Beyond The Boundaries Of Sin'. I mean, do not get me wrong, there are some fantastic sections and some quality music on here. Just the style and direction he took that material does not tickle my fancy, so to speak. The vocals follow suit with the music, they are pretty animated with real emphasis certain parts of each sentence, coming off sounding very staged and theatrical dialogue influenced to me. Think of a metal soundtrack to 'Phantom of The Opera' or something like that. Also there is a lot of punctuated for maximum flair keyboards (and some Hammond organ) use which also contributes that feeling. I don't know, some parts of tracks I really kind of dig here and there, but as a whole it is just not working for me. There is no doubting the talent that is behind this album though. I think Shelton was going for a real horror vibe, but missed the mark a little bit if this is supposed to sound really evil or creepy, it is more of a 'Dark Shadows' TV show melodrama atmosphere, rather than being bone chilling and malevolent. The production and everything is top notch, nothing to complain about technically or with regards to execution. I guess it is all boils down to do you like stuff like dark and over the top stage plays and metal mixed float your boat? Not mine it is sinking rapidly, time to push stop and move on to the next review.