Hellacopters Rock & Roll Is Dead

A decade into their career, Sweden’s Hellacopters slowly creep away from the guttural punk rock grit of earlier releases like Supershitty to the Max and into fuzzy, ’70s-inspired big-guitar sound best exemplified on 2002’s By the Grace of God. Still, as they draw ever closer to radio-friendliness with each outing, they have yet to truly break. And it doesn’t look like it will happen with Rock & Roll Is Dead — an album that mystifies and confuses more than it pleases. Hellacopters have always been a multi-listen band to truly get into, but even here continuous plays leave one feeling a desperate need for more as they cut back the distorted guitars, feeding more off of melancholy than madness this time around. The album has more of a softer feel, meandering along at moderate rock pace without intensity, overt hooks or even the feeling of latent aggression, almost deflating in contrast to the adrenaline-charged fury of past efforts. While two of the 13 tracks do offer some element of punk rock’n’roll piss/vinegar ("I’m With the Band” and "Everything’s On T.V.,” respectively), for the most part, the ominous title Rock & Roll Is Dead couldn’t feel more apt. (Liquor and Poker)