For more than a decade now, the Hellacopters have unleashed gigantic amounts of some of the best no-nonsense American rock to be heard in ages, and strangely enough they've been doing it from Sweden. The highly prolific band has released so many hundreds of songs in so many formats that compilations like this are a necessity, both for newbies looking for a good place to start and for oldtimers who'd like to have some of the band's best material in one convenient package. Or you could just chalk it up to standard record company exploitation of the compilation market, which would be a cynical but reasonable conclusion. But in any case, unlike the two Cream of the Crap retrospectives that gathered together far-flung B-sides and other scattered arcana (both of those albums are highly recommended), this disc sticks with the band's proper albums, with a few EP items stuck in for variety.
The Hellacopters have evolved greatly over time - their early work sounded almost nothing like their more recent work, as they have moved from frantic hard rock and punk to a rootsy blues rock and southern boogie vibe. (The missing link is the Grande Rock album, which not coincidentally was the beginning of Boba's active contributions.) It's hard to truly love all the band's musical phases equally, but this compilation really helps make sense of the Hellacopters evolution, because now the change really does seem gradual and natural over the intervening years. There truly is a connection between the pummeling punk of the early years and the classic rock revivalism of the dangerously retro album By the Grace of God, not to mention the downright derivative and imitative Rock & Roll is Dead (unsurprisingly, only three of the hardest rockers from that dreadfully predictable album are presented here). A special bonus of this compilation is the liner notes, in which the members of the band give their impressions on each song. There are some real insights into how each 'Copter views the songs and the changes in the band's sound over the years - and you get a good look at their personalities as well. Overall, this compilation is essential for understanding where the Hellacopters have been and why they've decided to go where they're going. [~doomsdayer520~]