You may remember Australian hard rock outfit Hailmary if you caught Ugly Kid Joe on their UK tour late last year. The four-piece have quite a reputation back home as being the proverbial road dogs in a country where the next gig could be a mere 24 hours away. As well as character and stamina, you also need the songs to survive in the harsh environment of the Australian live gig circuit. Thankfully, these guys have all of these in abundance. Their modern day take on hard rock with a Grunge tinge is a pleasant surprise, as I was expecting some basic blues based rock ‘n’ roll that is synonymous with the continent. ‘Fiction Burns’ kicks off the five track EP with an instant groove that teases the listener to sit up and pay attention, especially with the industrial hammers in the background. The guitars throughout are immense, constantly changing tack from melodic fills to crushing riffs. Vocalist, Kevin Curran has an almost mystical voice that sweeps and soars in a style which echoes Layne Staley. A track that improves with each listen, but listen to it through cans to really hear those hammers. ‘Equilibrium’ is big and beefy, with a slamming drumbeat, and as well as being complex, it’s quite trippy in places, as Curran’s vocals drift in and out as the arrangements constantly change. ’Longest Line’ is another change of pace. The acoustic intro leads into a massive radio friendly track with some glorious hooks. The vocals are sincere without sounding forced, and I caught myself checking a few times that these guys are indeed Australian, as the track is perfect American drive time radio. The band change from a more commercial sound to slamming classic Grunge on ‘Mind Casualty’,not retro pastiche Grunge though, but a sound and feel still relevant today. Again, the guitars are crushing on this, perhaps the standout track on the EP. ’Prove Me Wrong’ closes things out with some more trippy, almost psychedelic, tones where the band add another string to their bow. At just under the three minute mark, it’s the shortest of the five tracks featured, but does more than enough to leave it’s mark, as I found myself humming it for some time after. Be it a refresher, or your first introduction to Hail Mary, this short EP hits all the right spots, and will leave you seeking out more information on when the next full length album is due. You could make a start HERE.