Released: 2002, Hammer Records
Reviewer: Ultra Boris
Pokolgep are Hungary's premier classic metal band - they've been around since the early 1980s, and despite the planet's general ambivalence toward them, have developed quite a following in their homeland. Their new album is "Te Sem Vagy Mas", and is their second studio album since their "comeback" after a hiatus of several years.
The album is definitely power metal - the band has undergone a similar evolution to, say that of Helloween. In the 80s they were speedy and melodic and catchy, sounding somewhere between Priest and Accept. On the latest few albums, they seem to have picked up a darker edge, while slowing things down just a slight bit in favour of more crushing, almost thrashy riff work at times. For those familiar with their 2000 album, "Csakazertis" (Just Because), this one will be no real surprise, though I must mention that the songwriting is a bit more consistent.
As I said, this album is power metal. It's definitely not "flower metal" - no shrieky vocals, or overfast riffless tracks. There's only one all-out speed metal number on here, "Allitsak Meg a Hintat" ("Stop the Swing", I'm afraid the meaning is lost slightly in translation, it's a Hungarian expression equivalent approximately to "okay, stop the planet, I'd like to get off now.") The rest of the songs tend to remind me of anything from the aforementioned The Dark Ride to middle-era Vicious Rumours, to Metal Church's last few albums (especially Masterpeace), to even the main riff in Exodus's "Brain Dead". There's definitely a lot of well-placed acoustic interludes, classy solos, and downright catchy choruses.
Overall, it's not their best album, but it is worthy of the Pokolgep name. (Their best, 1989's "Ejszakai Bevetes", or "Night Raid" is badly out of print, and good luck finding it :-) ) This one is fairly common available through European distros (yes, it is definitely an import, but resist the temptation to buy it for $60 on eBay) - try mail-order sites like http://www.folio.hu
, for example. It's well worth the effort of tracking it down.
- the band's official site.