Hellbent

Get Out < Hellbent > I’ll Stay With You

Old friend… I’m sorry, I know you’ve been waiting.

Not for me – because I know the Christmas period has made me slack and inattentive to the task at hand, namely to confront the many burdens of Lost Sirens – but… to finally reach Part 3 in Bernard’s “Whatcha Doin?” trilogy! It’s been a long time since the last time, and I know the anticipation has been almost unbearable, so come inside, sit yourself on that chair and light a (very small bargain-priced) sparkler to celebrate this moment. It’s nearly New Years Eve anyway.

Total wasn’t too bad an idea, particularly as it was specifically designed for newbs who may have had their interests piqued by the Control or 24-Hour Party People movies and for which an obvious connection between Joy Division and New Order was needed. For the rest of us it was simply yet another compilation; and we’d already processed Retro, International, Singles*, and The Best of Joy Division in very recent memory. Either way, including Hellbent on Total was a cynical choice; purely designed to get us to buy the compilation because… you know… it was (light another sparkler now and wave it around)  >>previously unreleased<< ! Halle-frick’n-lujah. Thankfully it wasn’t marked as an album-only purchase for the digital release, so one could indeed buy just it, which I’m sure many did (myself included).

At best Hellbent is what it is, a 2nd-rate album leftover. I will be discussing the relative merits of the Lost Sirens tracks vs those on WFTSC in the forthcoming review block, but for now I still can’t quite believe Rhino abandoned – on a compilation supposedly offering a ‘total look’ at Joy Division and New Order – tracks like Heart and Soul, or Everything’s Gone Green, or Confusion, or Shellshock, or Here To Stay, for Hellbent**. Everything apart from its chorus & outro is hell-bent on being pedestrian. The verses are lyrically and sonically devoid of any heart whatsoever. Hooky’s performance is dialled-in, and not until Bernard opens up into the chorus (with an apology) do we get some decent depth and melody to grab onto; and it’s the song’s saving grace.

There’s half a good track in Hellbent, but that doesn’t justify its appearance on a best-of compilation. Not by a long shot.

 

* Which for me, along with Substance, is the definitive New Order compilation.
** I would have also swapped Krafty for Waiting For The Sirens’ Call as the better song from that album.

Rating: xxioo (for the chorus)

Available on: Total and Lost Sirens

3 thoughts on “Hellbent

  1. Good to have you back! Yes this is just an ordinary track and why its on ‘Total’ i will never know. Am i right in thinking that the Lost Sirens version is slightly different to the Total version? The Total version seems a bit more polished.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep – you’re right on both accounts; there’s a half decent song here and, yes, it was a shameless cash-in to get fans to buy yet another compilation.

    Still, I rather like the track and it’s probably one of my favourites on the ‘nice but fairly dull’ Lost Sirens album.

    I always compare this track to ‘Brutal’. I think it’s simply because both tracks appeared in isolation, i.e. without other album / single tracks to complement them. So, when I first got hold of it, I played it a fair bit (it being the only ‘new’ material coming out from the band at the time).
    Like ‘Brutal’ before it, I guess I overdosed on it. However, unlike that previous track, which I thought was fairly uninspiring at the time, this new track had a certain verve to it, which I still appreciate today. The chorus is rather good.

    You’re on the final push now Dennis… Only one mini LP to go before you get back to the band’s greatness. Keep the (true) faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d agree with much of the above but would be slightly more generous – 3 to 3.5 stars, mainly because I love the chorus. The verses, though are often leaden and tuneless, with everything thrown at them (pointless yeah, yeah, yeahs, retro piano break etc) which just highlights how uninspired they are.

    There’s certainly a similarity to Brutal, although I prefer the former, partly as, 11 years earlier, the NO rock-out formula hadn’t grown (so) old. Total was a potentially interesting idea (esp. the choice of tracks like Isolation which highlight the continuities between the bands), particularly as the tracks were quite sparkily remastered (Hellbent does sound somewhat duller and demo-ey on Lost Sirens). This shouldn’t be on there though.

    Liked by 1 person

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