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Review: Hellions – Opera Oblivia

Hellions
Photo by Lexi Markovic.

Hellions
Opera Oblivia
UNFD

5 Score

Like fireflies buzzing in the Northern Lights do Hellions exude a mystical chemistry. An hallucinatory scale-tip seeps into every stickling facet of their artistry: the defiant swerve between gnawing, caustic hardcore and experimental zeal. With creative amplitude bellied in scope and a noxious eruption of passionate theatricality, Opera Oblivia redefines the band that redefined Australian hardcore – though never pulling so far from their vulnerable roots as to alienate earlier fans.

The record punches in with less a bleed, and more a gush in “24” (the most riff-laden Christmas carol of all time) before pulling listeners through a dark, drowsy, loud and lucid collision of booming hooks and bloodied honesty. “Thresher” burns bright with an early-’00s emo spark, while “He Without Sin” fizzles in bruised and blackened grittiness, “Nightliner Rhapsody” billowing later with a surge of pyro-worthy grandeur. Comfortably paced but void of filler, the half-hour tableau boils into a shiver-inducing “Nuestra Culpa” and unremittingly climactic “25” – the winding tracks serve both to sate listeners holding out for their promised epic crowning salvo (delivered as regally as the perfect score would indicate) and shift a fourth LP to the very top of our wishlists.

Limited only in its theatrical breadth by an admittedly-curtailed runtime, Opera Oblivia is more refined and meticulous with experimentation than Hellions have shown on previous offerings. Immediately notable is their amped-up eye on melody: though shying not once from their usual convulsive intensity, the new record soars with sunny pop-punk choruses and rhythm sections that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Weezer LP. Think an entire album of “Polyphasic Sleep” and “Nottingham”, though lying in the former’s absense of Kyle Erich (In Hearts Wake) is the newly-realised melodic side of scream lord Dre Faivre.

Musically opulent as it may be, Opera Oblivia has its flaws – the operatic structuring weathers in its second act, and the focus on a straightforward sonic narrative means none of its predecessors’ rollercoaster-esque energy remains – but its in those flaws that Hellions embrace the vacillating uncertainty that musical progression (and progression in life, no less) accompanies.

At the end of the day, too, it’s just a fucking great record to sit back and lose yourself in. You should probably listen to it.

Opera Oblivia is out now via UNFD
Grab a copy: JB HiFi | 24hundred | iTunes

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Hellions
Tour Dates

Friday July 29th – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne (18+) SOLD OUT
w/ Belle Haven + Pridelands + Grave Street Blues

Saturday July 30th – Arrow On Swanson, Melbourne (AA)
w/ Void Of Vision + Harbours + Dregg + Thorn Hill
Tix: destoryalllines.com

Friday August 5th – Enigma Bar, Adelaide (AA)
w/ Hindsight + A Ghost Orchestra + Valhalla
Tix: destoryalllines.com

Friday August 12th – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney (AA) SOLD OUT
w/ Endless Heights + Vices + Bare Bones

Saturday August 13th – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
w/ Young Lions + She Cries Wolf + Deadlights
Tix: destoryalllines.com

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