HELL FIRE - Metal Masses
February 6, 2017, 16 days ago
Borrowing the bold red-on-black cover lettering from Kill ‘Em All (little Metallica similarities in their moniker design too), the debut from this Cali based outfit exudes “metal”, from the close-up artwork of a blurred hand, playing a Flying V to the hint of Iron Maiden in “Into The Light”. Don't let the disc opening, acoustic prelude fool you, this is ten tracks of wall-to-wall, twin lead, old school riffing (verging on thrash) and screaming high pitched vocals.
Usually the province of European bands, Hell Fire are from the same camp of American acts like Night Demon, Spellcaster, Visigoth, Widow and Holy Grail, re-imaging traditional metal for a new age. Love the picking to kick off “Night Terror” as well as the dual solos on “Islands Of Hell”. The chugging title cut recalls their San Fran mentors, apart from the vocals (more Alan Tecchio, of Hades, in scope). “Excelsior” is a full blown (4:21) instrumental, leading directly into “Battlecry”. A cappella vocals greet the “Escape Purgatory” closer, as the tempo rises. Initially just a digital download, damn shame the CD didn't meet my ears earlier, as it would have garnered Top Albums Of 2016 consideration. Already in the process of recording a follow-up. Watch for it!