HELLION – To Hellion And Back (2CD Anthology 1983-2014)
Los Angeles-based female fronted metallers HELLION have inked a contract with UK label Cherry Red Records. The first of three Hellion albums set for release this year is a 2-disc anthology entitled “To Hellion And Back”, and the first 1,000 copies will be autographed by the band’s singer, the legendary Ann Boleyn.
Arguably Ann Boleyn is responsible for coining the term speed metal, and indeed she is a pioneer of metal-women bands. She also is credited for developing the careers of many international recording artists through New Renaissance Records, the record label Boleyn founded.
“To Hellion And Back” chronicles the band’s beginnings from 1982 to the present, and features new music from Hellion. It’s a collection of fan favorites, hard-to-find recordings, and previously unreleased tracks.
Among the collection are two songs that were produced by Ronnie James Dio at the legendary Sound City recording studio, while the new stuff were handled by British studio icon Ken Scott.
The line-up assembled by Ann Boleyn for the new Hellion include drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Geoff Tate’s Queensryche, DIO), keyboardist Scott Warren (DIO, Heaven & Hell), Swedish bassist Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen), and up-and-coming lead guitarist Maxxxwell Carlisle.
The first disc features tracks from the 1983 self-titled EP and the 1984 demo produced by Dio. Opener “Backstabber” is pure American metal, a true journey through the melodic signatures of the ’80s along with Boleyn’s soaring raspy tones.
“Break The Spell” has that little Scorpions mannerism especially in the front end of the vocals, while Bristish styled riffs are evident throughout “Up From The Depths” sharing the valor with a touch of Doro / Accept.
Possibly the best, and quite well known song of Hellion is “Run For Your Life”, a nail biter filled with melodic Heavy / Speed Metal riffs causing a rapid heartbeat. This is an historical and very memorable track showing the band’s foremost achievement.
Also remarkable are “Witching Hour” with its groovy guitar work in the vein of Black Sabbath and “Tower Of Air” where I virtually listened to a female version of Praying Mantis.
The second CD presents songs from the EP “Postcards From The Asylum” and from the album “The Black Book” of 1990 and a totally new track. The fast pacer “Nevermore” delivers smashing drums while “Exciter” discharges ounces of power. “The Evil One” might be soothing but with whole loads of evil from within, kind of DIO oriented.
Nice melodic riffs and powerful sounds with fantastic singing are the motto of the piercer “The Black Book”. One of the best tracks is the melodic “Stormrider” that is introduced by an acoustic guitar verse and then coming alive with crispy old school / classic metal connecting with might vocals.
“Demon Attack” reveals a tuneful guitaring along with the DIO infested “Dead and Gone”, while the glamish fevered “Shit (Is Gonna Hit The Fan)” is quite catchy and shows Hellion’s more accessible side akin Alice Cooper.
The first new Hellion song for over a decade is entitled “Hell Has No Fury”, a nice melodic metal cut, well written and played with strong guitars, pounding rhythm section and powerhouse vocals by Boleyn, all surrounded by an ’80s classic feeling.
If you grew up during the Eighties listening foundational metal bands like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath or Scorpions, perhaps you have missed Hellion as they never reached a major status, but without a doubt Boleyn & co. were one of the most influential (and one of the first) female fronted metal bands.
Featuring many rare and unreleased tracks, as well as songs that have been long out of print and unavailable on CD, “To Hellion And Back” documents a piece of history, a time when the guys wear denim & leather and girls like Ann Boleyn kicked the table claiming a place in a macho-dominated R ‘N R world.
Disc One ;
02. Driving Hard
03. Don’t Take No For An Answer
04. Break The Spell
05. Up From The Depths
06. Run For Your Life
07. Get Ready
08. Witching Hour
09. Screams In The Night
10. Upside Down Guitar Solo
11. The Hand
12. Bad Attitude
13. Tower Of Air
Disc Two ;
03. The Evil One
05. The Black Book
06. Living In Hell
08. Demon Attack
09. Resurrection / Will Not Go Quietly
10. Shit (Is Gonna Hit The Fan)
11. Dead and Gone
12. Dream Deceiver
13. Hell Has No Fury
Ann Boleyn – Vocals
Simon Wright – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards
Maxxxwell Carlisle – Guitar
Bjorn Englenn – Bass
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