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Crossover Prog • Sweden

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Hällas biography
Hailing from Jönköping, Sweden, a rock combo HÄLLAS were founded in 2011 by Tommy ALEXANDERSSON (bass, voices), Alexander MORAITIS (guitars), Kasper ERIKSSON (drums), Marcus PETTERSSON (guitars), and Nicklas MALMQVIST (keyboards), each of whom has been inevitably inspired by Progressive Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Rock, and so on. In 2015 they released the eponymous ep via an independent label The Sign Records, that got appreciated. For two or more years, HÄLLAS had recorded material, that was crystallized as their debut full-length album titled "Excerpts From A Future Past" in 2017 finally.

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HÄLLAS discography

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HÄLLAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 3 ratings
Excerpts From A Future Past
3.67 | 3 ratings

HÄLLAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HÄLLAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HÄLLAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HÄLLAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 2 ratings

HÄLLAS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Excerpts From A Future Past by HÄLLAS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.14 | 3 ratings

Excerpts From A Future Past
Hällas Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars HÄLLAS is one of those Swedish retro prog bands that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years for mining the 70s prog and hard rock world and adding some of the more modern production technologies along with influences from various genres ranging from black metal to synthpop. This band was formed in Jönköping in 2011 with the stable lineup of Tommy Alexandersson (bass, vocals), Alexander Moraitis (guitar), Marcus Pettersson (guitar), Kasper Eriksson (drums) and Nicklas Malmqvist (keyboards).

The band spend a few years honing their chops and released the self-titled EP independently in 2015 and while that four-track debut perfectly showcased the band's intent of bridging the gap between 70s Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash, the tracks sounded a little too retro for my tastes although these guys clearly displayed their fiery passion for the retro melodic hard rock sounds that made the 70s such a wonderful musical place to begin with! While touted as a progressive rock band, the debut EP was clearly missing that aspect.

Two years later in 2017, HÄLLAS finally unleashed its debut full-length album titled EXCERPTS FROM A FUTURE PAST which saw the band develop its sound into something more unique and crafted a more sophisticated blend of their influences which found its way onto the Swedish indie label The Sign Records. While the band's proclivities are clearly rooted in the 70s hard rock action of Uriah Heep, the band dropped many of the Sabbath aspects and instead focused on the organ driven prog of early Uriah Heep with some of the blues rock inclinations of Wishbone Ash. Also more emphasized in the mix were ample uses of progressive rock as well as the organ parts adding more textures beyond a mere atmospheric backdrop.

With so many prog acts taking the leap into oft perceived complex pomp, HÄLLAS on the other hand keeps such excesses at bay and prefers the time signature deviations and overproduced slickness to be kept on a leash. What HÄLLAS focuses on instead are catchy hooks based in 70s inspired bluesy hard rock with the crossover prog characteristics shining through via organ driven technicalities and somewhat extended compositions at least on the ending tracks "Shadow of the Templar" and "Illusion Sky," however for the most part these tracks are based on simple guitar riffs in the vein of 70s bands like Rainbow, Wishbone Ash, UFO or Uriah Heep. Alexandersson's vocals display a tender vulnerability at odds with some of the brasher bravado that the 70s exhibited and the entire mood is a bit on the spacier side with subject matter revolving around medieval fantasy worship.

Gosh, these guys even look the part and if someone told you this band really was from 1974 or somewhere around that time, you could totally believe it! While many such retro bands go the full mile to play the part by recording on analog equipment, i'm not sure if HÄLLAS went to such extremes however given the warm organic sounds that perfectly replicate the guitar tones, groovy bass lows and period piece organ sounds, i would not doubt it for one minute if that was the case. The entire album that exceeds 42 minutes is actually rather dreamy for a hard rock album as the vocals are fairly monotonous and not even a tiny bit dramatic and the organ sounds are always providing an ambient backdrop if not outright taking the lead. The guitar riffs go up and down the scale while the bass and drum provide a stable if unremarkable rhythmic background.

If period piece retro rock is your thing with the additional touches of prog lite then HÄLLAS will be your up your alley but to be honest i'm not as impressed as many seem to be about this band. Yeah, all the boxes are checked for that authentic feel but when it comes down to it the compositions are hum along in a similar manner without a lot of dynamic changes. There seems to be missing that extra mojo that makes this style of music truly compelling and while the band is quite competent at crafting an album's worth of retro pseudo-prog from the 70s, it just feels a little too safe for my liking.

 Hällas by HÄLLAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.10 | 2 ratings

Hällas Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars DEBUT EP

As far as progressive rock goes, Sweden is the gift that keeps on giving with seemingly no end in sight of extraordinary bands emerging from this nation of just over 10 million inhabitants. Emerging from the interior city of Jönköping is yet another band that has been catching the world's attention in the last few years. HÄLLAS is one of those retro bands that adapts older sounds to the newer sonic palettes of the 21st century.

The band formed in 2011 and was inspired by various artists ranging from Wishbone Ash, Kebnekaise, Anekdoten, November, Camel as well as disparate genres ranging from black metal to synth pop. The lineup has remained the same since the band's inception with the members Tommy Alexandersson (bass, vocals), Alexander Moraitis (guitar), Marcus Pettersson (guitar), Kasper Eriksson (drums) and Nicklas Malmqvist (keyboards).

This four-song self-titled EP was released independently in November 2015 and set the stage for the retro sounds that HÄLLAS has amalgamated into its own with a little Wishbone Ash blues rock mixed with Black Sabbath heft which makes this feel like a relic from the 70s with those classic guitar stomps, bluesy guitar licks and that familiar vocal style that sounds more like something from the Blue Oyster Cult but overall the musical flow comes off more as something Uriah Heep might have released in the early 70s.

HÄLLAS needed a bit more time to develop its sound a bit as this earliest offering is a bit too retro for my tastes and sounds more like a tribute to the past than anything innovative but yet this little EP sets the stage for greater things to come and the band nails these retro sounds quite well which accompanied by the benefit of a modern production job makes this a delight to listen to however at this point HÄLLAS is just getting warmed up. This one is probably best for those who have already warmed up to the band's sound but it's not a bad place to start either since it's only 24 minutes long.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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