Released: 2009, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Brazilians Hellish War - this 5-piece heavy/power metal band out from Campinas, São Paulo (Brasil), obviously is a relatively unknown force to many of us because their 2 albums, DEFENDER OF METAL (their debut full-length album; released originally on Brazilian Megahard Records in 2001) and HEROES OF TOMORROW (self-released in 2008 by the band itself) have been available in Brazil, and basically only through some distribution companies around the globe. Now - however, German Pure Steel Records eases up the availability of these two somewhat rare and well recommended albums by re-releasing them on one CD, for the price of 2-in-1, which is a killer deal for sure.
In my opinion, everyone who is hungry for some traditional heavy/power metal, should check out this fine Brazilian act. The band´s sound is hugely inspired by such bands as Maiden, Accept, Running Wild, old Iced Earth, etc., so we can talk about a killer combination of bands here influence-wise anyway.
Out of these 2 albums, I think DEFENDER OF METAL works a bit better for me, having a more straightforward, heavier and more traditional heavy metal approach attached to the outcome of the songs on the album. The songs sound basically like a cross between some epicness and melodies of Maiden - and more of these aggressive, to-the-point of type musical elements that Iced Earth had on their first couple of albums, e.g. in songs like "Sacred Sword" and "Feeling of Warriors". The lyrics are pretty badly written and have lots of grammar errors in them, but it really does not matter because it is the music that really counts anyway, isn´t it folks? DEFENDER OF METAL is full of great metal moments, and there´s no way any fans of Maiden could just ignore this album completely.
There´s nothing that much wrong with the band´s second album, HEROES OF TOMORROW either, that was released 7 years later after their debut album. The songs still carry some of those Maiden/Running Wild/Accept/Helloween, etc. influences that they have always had in their sound, but on this album they have leaned a little more toward power metal´s direction compared to the songs on their debut album, DEFENDER OF METAL, I think. And what is clearly (and unfortunately) missing from the songs of their second effort, is all that tangible epicness that they had so greatly captured in the songs on their excellent debut. Oh well, you cannot always win - and not lose either, but due to losing some of that epic feel they had on their debut, they have also lost something vital and important from their sound.
However, you should try to get a hold of this double release because one thing is sure: Hellish War simply rules, and deserves more recognition than what they have achieved for themselves thus far. They truly are some sort of a hidden gem out from Brazil.