The Pretty Reckless have released a new album this year, and are ready to take you along for a ride to hell and back. Frontwoman Taylor Momsen formed The Pretty Reckless in 2008 after a successful career on the TV show Gossip Girl. Going to Hell does a fantastic job showing Momsen is more than just a pretty face, and definitely not a victim. Similar to bands like Garbage, Evanescence, and Hole, The Pretty Reckless capitalize on their post-grunge sound with the addition of dark and wicked themes. Originally called Reckless, the band quickly left their hometown of New York and took their style on the road. After four years, and a few lineup changes, The band released Going to Hell on March 12th of 2014. This album gives conservatives a reason to fear rock and roll. Momsen’s seductive, edgy, and almost satanic lyrics give the band a unique style with just a touch of metal.
If the thought of Taylor Momsen’s moans of passion starting off the first track ‘Follow Me Down’, is a turn-off, I would suggest checking out another album. Going to Hell capitalizes on the band’s dark female-fronted rock, and takes it to a whole other level. Momsen uses her sex appeal, and feminine approach to exploit the trope of the helpless little girl. Even the album cover shows her fierce persona. A few songs in, and switches from the victim to the empowered, sexy, and angry punisher with lyrics like “I’m evil, knocking at your door. I’m evil making you my whore.” The Pretty Reckless embraces stereotypical dark metal themes like sex, violence, and drinking to give the album a harder edge.
Most of Going to Hell may be slow, but it’s not any softer than what metal fans have come to expect. Somehow The Pretty Reckless found the key to combining heavy, downtempo, and almost country-sounding tracks with just enough metal. The slower songs that populate most of the album deserve special recognition for keeping the energy going despite their reduced speed similar to the band’s previous work. The album’s title track that was the record’s second single is a bit misleading. The track is by far the fastest and most upbeat of the bunch. Going to Hell may put a heavy emphasis on ballad style tracks, but that is only half the story. Ben Phillips shreds his way through the whole album with some truly spectacular solos. This album also has some over the top face-melting metal riffs to change things up. The Pretty Reckless even go as far as releasing acoustic versions of the two heaviest tracks at the end of the album showing all of their songs have the potential to be up scaled and rocked out if need be during a live show.
Luckily Going to Hell keeps its dark theme regardless of tempo. Their newest album puts low bass lines, guitar solos, and dark lyrics all into the perfect rock and roll package. Momsen’s style is unique and undeniable, but if you are just looking for fast tracks to bang your head to, you’re in the wrong place. By the Barricade recommends picking up a copy of Going To Hell if you like a downtempo, and dark ballad style with metal influences. The Pretty Reckless sure proves you don’t have to be the world’s fastest shredder to be metal.