At the beginning of the 2000s, when nu-metal was all the rage, a German band called 4Lyn entered the scene sounding exactly like big-time sellers Papa Roach and their ilk. Several years later, nu-metal is dead, and Papa Roach has moved on toward a streamlined hard rock sound with a punk edge -- which means, of course, 4Lyn released an album of streamlined hard rock with a punk edge. HELLO, the group's fifth album, is slightly better than its predecessors, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's good. As usual, the band is professional but undistinctive, and the singer struggles with his slightly whiny voice. Most of the tracks are anthemic rock songs with lots of buzzing guitars and a singalong chorus. The fast-paced "Lovemaker/Soulshaker" is better than the first half of the album, as is its follow-up, the more intense "The Jumpoff." But every time you think the album is okay after all, you'll immediately cringe a few seconds later at the lyrics (on the title track, the singer lets you know, "Love starts with a smile/And grows with a kiss/It always ends up in tears/And someone to miss"). And after the overblown balladry of "Nostalgia" and "This Heart," you're actually happy the band returns to its nu-metal roots with the energetic final song, "Cowboys," which at least has a propulsive riff and a sense of fun with its Western movie feel. HELLO may not be very good, but at least it isn't bad for very long: the album ends after 35 minutes and ten songs. Hello, goodbye.

This review was written for the All-Music Guide on January 30, 2008.

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Christian Genzel

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