Released: 2014, New Renaissance Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Hellion formed in Los Angeles, California way back in the early eighties establishing themselves as a bruising metal force to be reckoned with, firmly anchored around the powerful and often menacing vocals of one Ann Boleyn (now sole original member). Eleven years since the band's last release "Will Not Go Quietly" Hellion has returned with a brand new lineup consisting of Bjorn Englen on bass, Simon Wright on drums, Maxxxwell Carlisle on guitar and Ann Boleyn still belting out her vocals with her commanding presence in tact, all these years later.
TO HELLION AND BACK is a two disc anthology career retrospective that also serves as an introductory point to the band's new lineup as "Hell Has No Fury" the final track of the two disc set is taken from the as yet unreleased "Karma's A Bitch" upcoming full length. The aforementioned "Hell Has No Fury" comes in the form of a galloping powerhouse of classic heavy metal riffery and traditional metal vocals, delivering the goods in the way you would expect a seasoned group of veterans like Hellion, to lay down the metal gauntlet.
Disc one is comprised of tracks culled from the band's self titled debut EP, some demo tracks produced by the immortal Ronnie James Dio and five tracks from the "Screams In The Night" full length. It's really an amazing journey musically as you lay witness to the progression of the band in all aspects from production value to songwriting to musicianship. From the band's inception with original axemen Ray Schenk and Alan Barlam to the introduction of the shredding Chet Thompson in 1987 on the "Screams In The Night" album where facemelting leadwork, soloing and frenetic fretboard sorcery entered the equation, it's a rocking trip down memory lane of one of heavy metal's most criminally under recognized acts.
The second disc features tracks from 1988's "Postcards From The Asylum" EP, five tracks from the amazing "Black Book" full length and four tracks from the "Will Not Go Quietly" EP. As I mentioned a moment ago it really is remarkable all of the killer different incarnations of Hellion Ann has fronted over the years. I'd recommend reading the deluxe liner notes in which Ann is interviewed by near pre-historic rock scribe Malcolm Dome. Ann's storied career makes for an engaging read and ton's of archival band photo's are also included. Ann Boleyn's own "New Renaissance Records" imprint spared absolutely no expense with the packaging of this career retrospective anthology. From the second I popped in disc one this anthology became a part of my daily listening routine. I would highly recommend this release to all fans of classic heavy metal.