Fuelhead - Fuelhead
Fuelhead, a band from the town of Uddevalla located at the Swedish west coast bring out their self-titled debut and is being promoted as a power trio where you should imagine a bit of Ozzy Osbourne mixed with Creed and with some Pantera riffs thrown in. It surely sounds promising, does it not? In addition, they are said to have some beautiful harmonies to go with that so this cannot be bad, can it? Well, the description is not entirely wrong and Fuelhead offer a good blend with their music. Fuelhead as a band was a reality in already 1999 and I quote: with the intention to deliver the heaviest, low-tuned cool groovy riffs you can think of, combined with memorable melodic vocals and great choruses!
For starters, I like the riffs. Even though they are not that special or out of the ordinary, they are hitting the right spot. But let's not get hooked up too much on those, the music is softer and a kind of lush hard rock with popish melodies and catchy refrains disguised by heavy riffs and some occasional nu-metal influences to give their music a sharp edge. Furthermore, Fuelhead has that typical Swedish sound surrounding them, the type of sound you can't put your finger on but immediately makes you aware of their geographical location, but the main influences seems to be coming from the other side of the Atlantic. Bands like Nickelback, 3 Doors Down and even Disturbed with the heavier influences have things in common with Fuelhead and add to that a touch of Alice In Chains grunge and some Zakk Wylde inspired guitars and the picture is somewhat complete. The track If I Die is probably the song most representative for the band and perfectly shows the balance between heavy riffs that drive the song forward and a melodic refrain that is simple yet elegant to top it all.
It is mid-tempo most of the way and heavy riffing that meets a melodic and catchy refrain seems to be the overall recipe for Fuelhead, and even if this is nothing out of the ordinary, or anything special for that matter they succeed, at least with me. The music is easy to take in and the mix between sweeping catchy refrains and heavy chugging, although harmless, riffs gives a nice contrast to the music that otherwise might have been coming out as too flat sounding.
Among the better tracks on the album are the up-tempo and Nickelback sounding track I See Right Through You that that is an energetic song. Further, you have Little Ones that was released as a single earlier and has kind of a nu-metal vibe that rests over the verses with the lurking guitar that goes behind the emotional vocals. The vocals from Andreas Henemyr suit the music well even if it can be a bit static but he gets far by having lots of emotion in his singing. The heavy riffs and the good guitar playing show the versatility of Fuelhead and also by the melodic refrain that it is of the kind that the more you listen to it the harder it is to get it out your head. However, the best song and the one that feels the most complete and despite its short time of only three minutes is Your God Ain't Mine and is also the track that has the most depth. It has much of Disturbed over it with the riffs and structure while the refrain, once again of the catchy kind, is more powerful than the others on the album, and the swirling keyboard that lies in the background in the refrain further gives the song a nice touch of depth. And if they are to release another track as a single they ought to choose this one.
The songs are in general short and even if I would have wanted longer ones and perhaps songs that are also more complex, these work well. And the more easy going and catchy songs ought to work very well in a more commercial purpose, and I believe both metal fans as well as listeners to commercial radio can find something they like in Fuelhead.
See also review of: Little Ones