The best comparison one might make to enlighten prospective listeners to West Virginian metal quintet Bobaflex is against popular pagan holiday Halloween. Indeed, every last day of October, people across the (mostly) Western world indulge in a festival of fear. In reality, though, the frights of the night are only half the tale, as the celebrations usually see plenty of laughs as well. Still carrying the burden of the “nu-metal” label, the better-defined heavy-metal outfit sport dark tones and themes, yet deliver them with such delightful cheesiness that taking them seriously becomes a tough task. The appropriate response here is: who cares when it’s this fun!
New album ‘Hell In My Heart’ kicks this off in delightfully theatrical fashion with a man’s last will to be buried with his guns. Immediately followed by the emphatically energetic ‘Chemical Valley’, a powerhouse melodic metal anthem, dripping with hooks and diluted metal tricks so kitsch it is simply impossible to dislike. It’s never quite clear if the band take themselves seriously or if they have the most deceitful tongue-in-cheek to grace musical history. ‘Bury Me With My Guns’ cranks up the good times even further with the preposterously great line “bury with my guns on so when I reach the other side, I can show him what it feels like to die” (a teenaged metalhead’s wet dream).
The album is packed with such examples of grotesque all-out biker-metal attitude, strung together with such an infectious sense of fun. ‘Playing Dead’ and ‘Slave’ do it by way of softcore porn culture, ‘Dangerous’ does it to almost unfathomable degrees (it simplistic, but just try not to like it), ‘On That Night’ even manages to suggest hints of The Offspring. They even masquerade Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sound Of Silence’ into a heavy-ballad, showing there is simply nothing this band will not do. Sure, there are a couple of tracks likely to be skipped quite a bit (one of inevitabilities of fitting 15 tracks into one album).
A metal-sceptic such as this writer was never going to give much of a chance to a band that, presumably, came to an agreement to give themselves such a garish moniker. That was old metal-sceptic writer. Showcasing incredibly enjoyable songwriting that proudly opposes progressiveness, a bottomless reserve of energy and a stock of cheese that would embarrass even the Swiss, Bobaflex are alright in my book. For fans of PG-rated evil, Taylor Swift-quality choruses, mixing alcohol with energy drinks, and people who love Jack Nicholson classic ‘Easy Rider’.
‘Hell In My Heart’ by Bobaflex is released 1st April on Megaforce Records.
Words by James Berclaz-Lewis (@swissbearclaw)