Bobaflex recently released “Hell In My Heart,” their third full-length studio album, but the first off their new label BFX Records. The record is packed with heavy riffs, throaty vocals and a bass that can shake the headphones of your ears.
The album was written in a period of uncertainty and legal complications after their previous label, TVT Records, declared bankruptcy. At that time Bobaflex had a single on the billboard, “Home,” but lost their #40 position in the wake of TVT’s financial turmoil.
Never say die.
The West Virginia boys toured for two years after the bankruptcy in order to pay off the legal fees to free themselves from the dead end contract. They wrote “Hell In My Heart” behind the scenes as the chaos ensued which reasserted Bobaflex as one of the most dedicated bands in the business.
The name “Bobaflex” was inspired by the famous Star Wars bounty hunter, Boba Fett. This isn’t the only media friendly nuance of the band. Brothers Shaun and Marty McCoy are co-frontmen, both on guitar and vocals, and descend from the infamous McCoy family whose dispute with the Hatfields almost brought West V.A. and Kentucky to a civil war.
Last year’s EP release, “Chemical Valley” roused fans back into the stands and prepared them for the massive album to come from a cohesive label. Four of the six tracks from the EP appear on “Hell In My Heart,” as well as a live track and nine previously unreleased songs.
Gongs of a cathedral bell and a gothic guitar riff ring out as an eerie voice makes the posthumous declaration of war in the afterlife throughout “Hell In My Heart’s” intro. “Chemical Valley,” which debuted on the EP, follows with a blast of energy and a throaty scream. The quick tempo and constant thump from Tommy Johnson’s kick drum penetrate the listener while the guitar’s twangy bridges and solo keeps the track light and electric.
The next track on the album, which was the opener of the EP, “Bury Me With My Guns” is dominated by heavy rhythm section as it draws from the introduction’s lyrics. A chorus like, “Bury me with my guns on / so when I’m cast out of the sky / I can shoot the Devil right between the eyes” wont fail to give the listener an immediate boost of adrenaline to the blood stream.
The bands punk influence erupts on “Low-Life’s” intro before it gives way to a pure hard rock progression. Johnson’s cowbell is prominent throughout the chorus. All three guitarists, the McCoys and Chris Grogan, combine to build each verse into a massive sound before the relatively open chorus.
Bassist Jerod Mankin takes a front seat on “Vampire.” Mankin and Johnson combine to deliver a rhythm section that periodically takes control of the melody.
One of the most interesting tracks on the album, “Playing Dead” showcases the McCoys vocal capabilities as they harmoniously sing, accompanied only by Mankin. The melodic break explodes into another pulsating measure. This track is perfectly located on the album as compliments the acoustically led subsequent song, “Sing.”
“Last Song” may stand as the anthem for the band as they trudged through the wreckage of a broken label. This track is not the loudest, hardest or most technical. It is however the most pure and honest track on the album, which makes it’s the standout song. Lyrics like, “The labels aren’t so friendly now / they put your single down / and say that time is running out” document the bands trials as their determination was tested. “Last Song’s” placement in a full-length album befit the track, diversify the album’s structure, and give a narrative to accompany the more recent songs.
Bobaflex’s success is largely due to their passionate performances. Possibly as a thank you to the fans the stuck by as they literally toured for their future, “Pretty Razors” is added as a bonus live track. The song doesn’t stray from its studio version much, but the bands intensity coupled with stadium cheers combine to present a more impressive sound.
Every midlevel band struggles to make ends meet. The stress that comes from labels often cripple bands that once showed promise. Bobaflex is a band whose resolve has not faltered in the face of a train wreck. Instead they produced their best album to date.