Hearse - Single Ticket To Paradise
Vic Records
Melodic Death 'N'Roll
9 songs (42:16)
Release year: 2009
Hearse, Vic Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

I’ve always found it a shame that whilst Arch Enemy go from strength to strength, the band of former vocalist Johan Liiva struggles in obscurity despite making arguably more interesting music. Let’s face it, Death N’Roll’s high point as a genre came and went with its birth, Entombed’s Wolverine Blues being the generally-acknowledged high point – heck, our very own Charles considered it worthy of classic status on these hallowed pages. As he says there, Rock and Death Metal have never been unconnected in some fashion, and the way that many Metalheads treat the genre as if it’s some low-caste cousin of ‘proper’ Death Metal is indeed silly. Yet even he would admit that there are certain bands that do nothing but mimic that scuzzy (what a great word!) Wolverine Blues style, and most of them are, sadly, pretty crap...

Well, enter Hearse. From the opening chords of cunningly-titled intro Intro, the band are putting the metal back into Death Metal, wailing leads driving all before them before first track proper Misanthropic Charades kicks in, Death-fuelled speed shifting between guitar heroics and a very infectious chorus, complete with momentary Beach Boys-esque interlude. It’s clearly Death N’Roll, but infused with so much killer guitarwork and expert catchiness that any silly qualms about that aspect of the band’s makeup are forgotten. I suppose the easiest way of summing the band’s sound up is to imagine that Asphyx followed Carcass’ lead in doing a Heartwork and releasing an album full of great songwriting that nonetheless retained fragments of their earlier sound. Lumping them in with Wolverine Blues-clones was rather unfair of me, as Hearse are a good deal more individual than that. There’s a genuine old-school nature prevalent, but mixed in are so many guitar solos, catchy riffs and vocal hooks that it’s completely transformed. And what’s more, this level of quality is kept up throughout the album, guitarist Mattias Ljung consistently pumping out those great riffs and solos that keep your attention firmly fixed. Needless to say, this easily kicks the ass of Arch Enemy’s last album and positively demands to be played again and again.

You can pretty much pick any track and enjoy, from the slower-paced The Moth to the atmospheric voiceovers on An Emotional Fraud. Each track takes a similar vaguely-Entombed-rooted path, yet none tax the patience, none are repetitive or dull. It’s an album pretty much tailor-made for the underground death metal fan who wants something fun to chill to for a while, with more than enough variety to keep you focused and attentive – the atmospheric title track and balladic Your Purgatory are good, but that flamenco interlude on The Ferocious Embrace? Holy shit! Yep, this is truly a band that knows what sounds good next to what, knows how to keep its listeners on the edge of their seats, and whilst in the past they may have underperformed a little, I think it’s Single Ticket To Paradise where Hearse truly became a must-listen band. This isn’t perfect, but it’s more than good enough to make me look forward eagerly to their next album, and should be checked out by those that missed it last year.

Killing Songs :
Misanthropic Charades, Sundown, The Moth, An Emotional Fraud, The Ferocious Embrace
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Hearse that we have reviewed:
Hearse - Armageddon Mon Amour reviewed by Alex and quoted 63 / 100
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