Written while going through a divorce, losing a family member, mental health issues and all the while feeling like the world was falling apart, ‘Our Hell Is Right Here’ was not the easiest of albums to write for vocalist Lois McDougall. And while there is a lot of sadness permeating the songs, there is even more room for triumphant moments as the UK band overcame every single obstacle that life threw their way.
Unable to get together in the same room due to the pandemic, it was up to the band’s own Tim Kramer to produce the album and piece it all together. Recordings were dragged out over the course of several months with never more than two persons of the band in the same room at any given moment. You wouldn’t be able to spot it though. The album sounds as cohesive as can be from the second opening track ‘Please Vacate The Planet’ kicks down the door with the band’s amped-up take on punk rock along with Lois’ attention-demanding vocals, right up until the moment the final notes of ‘Warning Signs’ ring out.
In between you are treated to the title track - a scathing condemnation of abuses of power - featuring guest vocals by Petrol Girls’ Ren Aldridge, the near unstoppable ‘Manipulate’ and the acoustic ‘Listen,’ which shows the band does understand the concept of a slower song, they just choose to ignore it most of the time. Which is exactly what they do when they tear into emo-ish single ‘Learn’ or burn everything to the ground on ‘Josephine’.
Are there no downsides then? Well, a couple of the songs on the album’s second half like ‘Colourblind’ or ‘Void’, don’t hit home quite as hard. But that says more about the strength of the album’s first half rather than anything else. With an overall sound that lingers somewhere between RIse Against’s wall of sound and My Chemical Romance’s flair for the dramatic, there is a lot to be enjoyed on ‘Our Hell Is RIght Here’.