Written by: Scorpi
When you’re always looking for something new and fresh, you are prone to forgetting about the classic sounds that got you into heavy music in the first place. It’s handy, then, when bands such as Hearts & Hand Grenades emerge from the rock’n’roll underbelly, to jog our memory as to why the classic rock style should not be forgotten, and still has its place in our collections.
Hearts & Hand Grenades formed in 2018, and have thrust their debut album Turning To Ashes into the hazy limelight of the Sleeping Village. And this enigmatic Villager really liked what he heard.
The album starts as it means to go on. We’re launched into the gritty hard rock title track that’s filled with attitude and a bite that would make the toughest hound grimace. No frivolous or dramatic introductions here. The saturated, high-gain guitars are distinctively dirty and thick, and provide the perfect amount of grit for that classic rock sound. The lead/solo work is similarly infectious when delivered atop of theses robust rhythm sections. And this is apparent throughout the album.
As great as the guitar work is, it’s the vocals that really shine on Turning To Ashes. Vocalist & bassist Stephanie Wlosinski delivers vocals with intimidating passion and ferocity on every syllable. The stage is hers, and she knows it. Her vocal style is particularly raw, with notable highlights being the title track and also “The in Crowd." Here, the fast and furious chorus is only enhanced by her equally rapid delivery. However, she is capable of more dulcet tones, especially in the same track as I just mentioned where the verses are quieter than the big, brash chorus.
Handily enough, as I move on to talk about my favourite tracks, “The in Crowd” is where we’ll start. The lick that the verses gravitates around is incredibly catchy and will be stuck in your head forever, probably. It has got that playful, creeping-up-on-you feel to it. Very tongue in cheek. And the aforementioned chorus bursts out of the traps like a greyhound with a firecracker up its arse. It’s exciting, enthralling and short-lived, like opening the car window on a highway.
The title track I’ve spoken about already is another of my favourites, but one I haven’t mentioned yet is “Nothing Left.” Again, it’s the vocals here I really enjoy. They’re catchy, but they are punchy too, they do a great job of building tension in the verses that is then released pretty satisfactorily in the choruses. And a nod to the guitar solo is due here, despite being pretty brief.
Turning To Ashes is uncomplicated in style and delivery, but sometimes you don’t need fancy solos or intricate rhythm sections to deliver something memorable. Sometimes all you need is some grunty guitars, passionate, well executed vocals and about 34 minutes of spare time to enjoy a style that Hearts & Hand Grenades have tasked themselves with reigniting.
Hearts & Hand Grenades - Turning To Ashes was released Jan. 8th, 2021 from Eclipse Records.
Scorpi also writes reviews and creates content at Abrasive Noise. Now that you're done reading this, you should head over there and check it out!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!