Damn it if these Swedish metal heads didn't go and pull one hell of a mind fuck on their fan base with their second full length release entitled Not Dead Yet, originally issued by Nuclear Blast in 2000 and now reissued by Metal Mind. Not only does the scantily dressed chick in front of the mirror on the cover of Not Dead Yet resemble a Ratt album circa the mid 80's, but the band also decided the anti religious themes of their debut record Holy Hell sounded somewhat dated, so they moved into different territory on Not Dead Yet by writing almost an album's worth of songs dealing with with partying and sex, go figure!
While musically Not Dead Yet does offer a bit more in the way of melody and variety than it's predecessor Holy Hell, the later being a particular beef with this reviewer, it unfortunately does so at the expense of actually toning down the aggression factor with regards to the music. Not to mention some of the lyrics here are a complete abomination. Take for example the track "Babes", as if the title alone isn't enough, the lyrical poetry of "Come on now baby. I like it when you light my fire. Come on baby take me higher. Together we can sin. Come on baby let me in" is enough to make you want to puke. Likewise a sample of the title track offers the listener "Can you feel it to my treasure. If you do give me pleasure". In all fairness to the band these are the worst examples Not Dead Yet has to offer and thank god the whole album isn't this repulsive, but like an old girlfriend you'd rather forget, it does leave a bad taste in your mouth in more ways than one.
Vocalist/ guitarist Jonas Nilsson's vocals do at times sound like a cross between Dangerous Toys/ Broken Teeth front man Jason McMaster (especially on the opening track "Dance With The Devil") and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, and once again the tandem guitar work of Nilsson and Torstein Wickberg crank out their fair share of high energy, octane riffs, but ultimately isn't enough to save this record. In some ways I do admire Raise Hell for trying something different and attempting to reinvent themselves with each record, something they would continue to do on their third and last album for Nuclear Blast, Wicked Is My Game, yet that being said this just comes across as a band that still seemed unsure of their musical direction.
Holy Hell showed that this young bunch of musicians had potential, but Not Dead Yet proved that while they might not have been, they did come pretty damn close.
1) Dance With The Devil
3) Back Attack
5) Not Dead Yet
6) No Pulse
7) User Of Poison
8) He Is Coming