Hellfire are one of the growing number of young, energetic bands who have taken upon themselves to produce fierce, youthful traditional metal. Hailing from the states, "Warnings" is the band's debut full-length album, and it is somewhat impressive, showing consistency, and a fairly definite, comfortable sound, which really caught my attention straight away when I was out sampling new bands. Hence, I bought the album, and was not disappointed.
Catchy doesn't even begin to cover most of the songs on this album. The blend of straight-forward, honest instrumentation, with chunky, down-to-earth rhythm guitar, blended neatly and cohesively to likewise straightforward, but also talented lead guitar, which is extremely easy to enjoy, as the guitar parts are, for want of greater eloquence, relatively free from wankery, while still being abundant in technical skill. This theme also exists in the other instruments, with traditional, wholesome drumming and bass playing, which are well mixed, to boot. The vocals are also in this vein; Melodic, and definitely talented, but also honest and earthy, and making no attempt to show off pretentiously through falsetto and the like, which adds a great deal of solidness to the sound, by stripping away much of the potential over-complex fodder which makes many bands very difficult to get into.
The album is very bare-bones, also, with an early NWOBHM, almost, dare I say, Punky sound, which is emphasised by the relative lack of keyboards and effects throughout the album. In some places, the album also exhibits some thrashy characteristics, although these are generally fleeting. All in all, Warnings is an album which just feels right. It's sound is organic, and is much more pleasing than many of the other bands in the "new wave of traditional metal", who, it must be said, have a tendency to try too hard. This album was, to me, an immediate hit, with many of the songs being instantly memorable. They have very human sound to them, like a bond between man and music. Insignificant as it sounds, something so simple as the shouted count-in after the intro of "Constantine" makes the music feel much more organic, a living thing, as opposed to some sterile construct.
The impact of the album lies in it's simplicity, which will, of course, grate with those who like their metal bedecked in multitudinous layers of sound. I, for one, love the punchy sound of this band, and have, I feel, found my favourite up-and-coming act in the traditional metal movement.
I give this band 10/10... and the artwork's pretty awesome as well.
Hellfire on Myspace
Hellfire on Metal Archives