|Review: Hellish War - Defender of Metal/Heroes of Tomorrow|
|Defender of Metal/Heroes of Tomorrow|
Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: October 26, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
for:Defender of Metal/Heroes of Tomorrow
Rated 3.82/5 (76.36%) (11 Votes)
Here we have another release from Pure Steel and it's another band going for the authentic 80s Heavy Metal sound and hitting the nail on the head. This time it is Brazil's Hellish War, a band that has been around since 1995, but only has two official releases to date. Included in this repackaging is 2001's Defender of Metal and 2008's Heroes of Tomorrow, the former re-mastered and both containing bonus tracks not found on the original releases. What will you get when you purchase Defender of Metal/Heroes of Tomorrow? Classic, no-frills 80s style Heavy Metal. None of the Thrash, Death or happy Power Metal so prevalent in the Brazilian scene are anywhere to be found. Just Iron Maiden/Manowar/NWOBHM worship, through and through.
First up is the 2008 offering, Heroes of Tomorrow. This is an awesome display of 80s inspired classic Heavy Metal. The band has every element covered and in its proper place. There are the clean, but with a hint of gruffness, vocals of Roger Hammer, the twin guitar assault of band founder Vulcano and Daniel Jobs and the solid rhythm section of drummer Daniel Person and bassist Alexandre Jr. While the band cites Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar, etc. as their influences, I hear more of some of the lesser known bands from that era such as England's Battleaxe and Germany's Unrest and Crossfire. In fact, Roger Hammer sounds so much like Crossfire's Peter de Wint, I was sure Hellish War was de Wint's new band. And that's a good thing, as both Hammer and de Wint have perfect voices for this kind of down and dirty metal. No uber-fast double kicks, sweeping keyboards or down-tuned guitars spoil this party. The majority of the tracks are mostly mid-paced with some faster than others. Heroes of Tomorrow kicks old school ass from start to finish. Check out songs like "Straight from Hell" and "Son of the King" and be prepared to bang your head. Guitarists Vulcano and Jobs have the 80s solo down to a science and I was playing air guitar every with every spin of Heroes of Tomorrow.
The second album in this release (or the 1st if you want to be chronological about it), Defender of Metal, from 7 years earlier, is in much the same vein as Heroes, but definitely not its equal. Defender of Metal SOUNDS like the debut of a band trying to put all the 80s elements together, but not quite getting it right. Yet. The sound on Defender of Metal, while re-mastered, is nowhere near as good as on Heroes, especially the vocals, which are a bit too far in the background. The songwriting is not as accomplished. And while Heroes of Tomorrow offers some variety (tracks like "My Freedom" and "Reasons" come to mind) Defender of Metal is pure cheese. Titles like "Defender of Metal," "Memories of a Metal" and "We Are Living for the Metal" (are you sensing a theme?) would make Manowar proud. The whole album has a "thrashier" feel to it, like Hellish War was leaning more towards the Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer sound on their first outing. Not that the album is bad, it is very good in its own right, it just has to live up to the more polished Heroes of Tomorrow that happens to be included in the same package. The soloing of Vulcano and Jobs are again standouts on Defender of Metal. Just listen to the guitar break in "Law of the Blade" and you will be transported back in time. Both albums have some longer songs (several over 9 minutes) and Hellish War does a pretty good job of changing pace within the songs as well as between songs, so it doesn't get boring.
All in all, this is an outstanding release from Hellish War. I prefer the more polished sound and improved song writing of Heroes of Tomorrow, but for those who prefer a rawer, early NWOBHM sound, Defender of Metal should be right up your alley. Both albums feature some of the best guitar solos I've heard in a looong time. And since you get them both, how can you go wrong? You can't. I recommend you check them out.
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