Hellsonics is a female-fronted psychobilly/horror punk band, from Antwerp, Belgium, formed in 2002. Yes, Belgium, the country that gave us Jean-Claude Van Damme and waffles. I don’t like Van Damme movies much, or Belgian waffles, but I love Hellsonics! The official languages in Belgium (or “Hellgium” as the band calls it) are French, Dutch and German, but Killie Sonics (vocals) of Hellsonics sings entirely in English. The band’s music, at first, was psychobilly, characterized by slapping upright bass and reverb-drenched guitar riffs, similar to the Danish psychobilly band The HorrorPops. They later moved to a more horror punk sound with electric bass and heavier guitar riffs. Singer Killie Sonics hosted a heavy music radio show in Belgium, called Shock Report, for ten years before forming Hellsonics. Currently, Killie Sonics is joined by Brain Detzer (guitar), Nik Nitro (bass), and Tom ‘Gringo’ Starr (drums).
“Demon Queen” (2006) is, arguably, the better of Hellsonics‘ two releases to date. The album opens with a cool instro, “U-Turn,” then kicks into high gear with two psycho punkers, “Road Junkies” and “I Surrender,” before shifting into a badass cover of Nancy Sinatra‘s kitsch classic “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” This cut not only drips with reverb, but with awesomeness! Next, the title track continues with more original bass slappin’ coolness, as does the rocker “Adrenaline,” my favorite track. “Sleep With Demons” takes a detour into retro garage rock, sounding like a cut from a lost 60’s psychsploitation movie. Groovy! Then, “Blood Red Eyes” kicks out that chunka-chunka guitar riff that I love so much in this genre! The only misstep is a cover of The Isley Brothers‘ “Shout,” a wedding classic. Watch the video for “These Boots” here:
In 2008, Hellsonics appeared on “Psycho Vixens,” a compilation dedicated to female psychobilly artists. Their song “The Witch,” a B-side, was a fiery punker driven by that chunka-chunka riff, which hinted at their move toward a horror punk sound. In 2012, Hellsonics returned with a new album, “Long Way Down.” The riffs were heavier and the bass was electric, but the psychobilly vibe was still audible. The title track is a cool rocker, as is “Chasin’ Demons” (Killie, apparently, loves demons!), but my favorite track, here, is “Cheap Beer and Nicotine.” And, the song “Down The Hill” appears on this album in its third version, after appearing on the previous release in, no less than, two different versions! They got it right this time.
Website: Hellsonics Official Facebook