Metal Fire from Hell

Planet Metal
rating icon 6 / 10

Track listing:

01. Metal Fire From Hell
02. Headcrusher
03. Heavy Metal Highway
04. Heavy Metal Education
05. Metal Psycho
06. Change The World
07. Too Wild To Tame
08. Warriors Of Rising Sun

One look at that album cover and surely you realize that what you're getting yourself into is not epic folk metal, brutal death, or progressive power metal. "Metal Fire from Hell" — licensed from Black-Listed Records for stateside release by Planet Metal — from Japan's HELLHOUND is pure '80s heavy metal, albeit the cheesier end (but not straight-up hair metal either). It is a fan's tribute of sorts to a style with which one can only assume the foursome fell in love and never could shake. So why not write and record it? According to the band, "If you don't like us, you don't like metal". Hold your horses; let's not get carried away here either, kids.

It is not like this is the quintessential heavy metal album for lovers of heavy metal, but the truth of the matter is that "Metal Fire from Hell" contains eight heavy metal fireballs of varying temperature, most of which are catchy and a good deal of fun, even if they aren't going to make anyone forgot the original masters. In general, the material tends to take copious cues from ACCEPT (e.g. "Heavy Metal Education"),speed metal acts like EXCITER (e.g. "Metal Psycho", "Too Wild to Tame"),and a smattering of acts that could include everyone from KIX to DIRTY LOOKS (tell me you don't hear it on "Headcrusher") to MANOWAR (sort of); the so-so "Warriors of Rising Sun" has a bit of that vibe. At least there are no real stinkers; only a couple of average bangers, such as "Change the World".

Truth be told, the cheesy part comes mainly from the falsetto, phlegm-choked vocals that occasionally make one think of a heavy metal version of one of the Muppets (whose name escapes me). Sorry, but it's true, which does not mean that the vocals are a major problem. They are in fact well suited to the arrangements and not altogether different from what was heard from a lot of 80s bands. So take it with a grain of salt. The short of it is that "Metal Fire from Hell" is good for a hoot and offers up a handful tasty metallic nuggets, provided you're in the mood for it. It is not, however, the second coming.

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