Mascara was smudged down hairy cheeks in 2010 when Hank Von Hell turned his assless chaps on Turbonegro and headed for the sunset. Fortunately for Turbojugend one of their own, Tony Sylvester ex Dukes of Nothing, stepped up to the mic and the Norwegian nutters got back on stage and in the studio delivering “Sexual Harassment” shortly after. Hank , meanwhile appears to have got involved in Scientology to help exorcise narcotic demons and been a judge in Norwegian Idol. (Dunno which is more crazy TBF).
Then with new single “Bum to Bum” he was back. The Crown Prince of Camp and roll was back astride a ball gagged gimp and heading for punk rock Armageddon.
Well “Egomania” is more cock rock than Deathpunk. Pantomime giggles and pfnaar pfnaar innuendo permeate every rockin’ ditty
Whereas Turbonegro strut back alleys like Droogies with flicknives and wicked grins Hank is more like a rock and roll panto villain with a rubber knife. I can only think that his sobriety and mainstream existence has sanitised him and without Euroboy and Happy Tom he is missing that cutting edge.
What Egomania offers is 10 tracks of good fun hard rock. Hank has evidently put his hedonistic past in the rear view and can celebrate it via several songs “Too High” “Never Again” and “Bombwalk Chic” being great examples. Just like another shock rocker in recovery Alice Cooper appears to have embraced his new health and positivity and poured it into his work.
What this means is a less dangerous air and more that of latter day Mr Furnier. Never Again reminds me of Alice on “Last Temptation” or “Hey Stoopid”. Hank can carry a tune and evokes the emotion of an addict trying to make up for his past transgressions. It comes across as genuine rather than saccharine and schmaltzy.
There is plenty of swagger here which reminds me of fellow Scandinavians “Happy Revolvers” brand of Glam and Roll. He is still looking to cause a little controversy with the flasher anthem “Pretty Decent Exposure” which shows there is still plenty of lead in the pencil. There are lots of woahs – not Offspring levels worry not – and oodles of 80’s Steve Stevens style guitar riffs. You could put it on at a family gathering and people would put thumbs in pockets and get down.
Egomania is a lot of fun. Rather than a flamboyant explosion of a dangerous rock star it is a good hard rock album made by someone that has survived his demons and still has a story to tell.
It’s just not as dangerous a story but then maybe rock and metal has had enough martyrs.
(7/10 Matt Mason)