Released: 2008, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Hellhound, this already split-up heavy/speed metal act from the Bay Area, California, has remained a relatively unknown name for most of metalheads around the globe, I believe. It´s no wonder because they only managed to release a couple of studio demos (SUBMIT OR DIE in 1985 and FROM THE RUINS OF YESTERDAY in 1987), and never got a chance to record a full album.
The band's two demos, however, were released on CD via Maximum Metal label in 1998 already, also featuring a couple of outtakes from the band´s live session taped from cable TV show called "Rock Talk" recorded in 1987. Now Stormspell Records, out from San Jose, USA, took the opportunity and decided to give a shot to Hellhound´s rare, past releases.
ANTHOLOGY is more than a fitting name for this CD + DVD set that contains those two aforementioned demos + rare video live footage taken from the "Rock Talk" cable show from 1987, this including also a band interview + 8 live-in-studio songs. Hellhound´s music was a relatively technically advanced combination of speed and heavy metal (or pre-power metal, whatever you wanna call it), reminding me of a lot of things actually that can be heard - in tiny, small doses at least, bands like Attacker, Griffin, Helstar and such within their own material. This is the kind of old school speed/heavy metal I wanna hear really. Full of different, varying tempos, nice and catchy riff and rhythm changes, killer vocals and everything, which makes this whole package worth checking out. Now thinking of it all afterwards, it feels a bit odd, to say the least, that Hellhound´s career was so short-lived and only these couple of quality studio demos were recorded during their existence. This world isn´t a fair place for everyone, I guess.
As for the DVD part, the band interview part is ruined by an unprofessional interviewer chick who only asks very forseeable and stupid questions from the band members, like about ´your worst and best gigs´ and things like that. She gives out that kind of picture from herself like she even doesn´t know what band she is interviewing. Kinda irritating if you ask me. Oh well, gladly the live footage, however, consisting of 8 songs all in all, is pretty enjoyable to watch. It´s a ´live in studio´ kind of thing, only with some lights behind them and that´s all. The picture quality is pretty tolerable in this DVD part, but we gotta keep in mind times were really different back then, without so advanced technology for visual quality. With the simplicity of the settings in Hellhhound´s live performance, I gotta say it didn´t work out against me a bit at all as a boring element or anything alike. Not a bit. On the contrary, I did enjoy myself how the band seemed to play straight from their hearts, and just pull out an entertaining live in studio performance. Good work from them, definitely.
Comes along with a 16-page booklet with updated liner notes, loads of vintage pictures taken from the band and a great looking artwork done by Dimitar Nikolov. Worth purchasing? You bet it definitely is.