The Metal worlds survived the blitzkrieg. After so many break ups, comebacks, a career span that influenced some of the chief Metal bands in the industry like, METALLICA for instance (which also paid tribute with a cover), the NWOBHM British steamroller, BLITZKRIEG, return with a new album after a dry season that lasted for a period of six years since "Theatre Of The Damned". Freshened with new band mates, which one of them returned after two decades, the howler Brian Ross (also known from the Speed / Heavy Metal SATAN fame that also made their comeback a few years ago and released a new album) and his crew issued "Back From Hell", via their new old home at Metal Nation Records (ex-Neat Records that signed the band back in the early 80's). Without changing their musical perspective, maybe tweaks of production that maintained an 80's sagaciousness to their sound, BLITZKRIEG assembled quite an impressive Metal that continued their legacy in a manner that retained the honor and respect they deserve.
All throughout the release I couldn't escape that fact that BLITZKRIEG paved a road within NWOBHM that made it a bit fiercer and tougher, unlike the movement's outputs in the late 70's and even some of the band's that continued their music through the early 80's when the British steel pinnacle developed even further. Even in 2013, listening to "Back From Hell" is like listening to "Kill 'Em All" or even SLAYER's "Show No Mercy" as an addition. However, it is the other way around because these bands, probably SLAYER as well grew up on BLITZKRIEG, even when the Brits didn't issue an album before the American's breakthrough into the Metal market. Furthermore, there were a number of indications of JUDAS PRIEST's old discography, late 70's and early 80's inducements together with Dio's era with BLACK SABBATH. Possibly, these two icons influenced the band itself, back in the day and even nowadays. Therefore, it can be evident that nothing is all too demanding when it comes to BLITZKRIEG's songs, save for "Buried Alive", and old hit of the band that was re-recorded and the "payback" cover for METALLICA's vintage hit "Seek And Destroy" that emphasized the longing for the band's hunger days, the Brits raptured with substantially heavy material that still feels British, crispy and energized by haunting melodies that several specified a vibe off classic Hard Rock. Ross's vocals sounded, even if sometimes rather monotone, as if he hasn’t aged at all and his finishing touches high register yelps, appeared like a kind of tradition when listening to this guy, are still strong and commanding.
"One Last Time" is not what you would call a Heavy Metal chugger, yet it sounded more like a heavier version of a BOSTON song, somewhat romantic, heavenly melodic and excruciating with pain, quite a magnificent turn out as a true 80's power flame. "We Have Assumed Control", "Return To The Village" and "Back From Hell" are an impressive old school driven NWOBHM numbers, presenting BLITZKRIEG as an honest Heavy Metal act that pinch with a few of the basics of the genre, yet with an ounce of nostalgic passion to have you taste the goods of what these guys have to offer. When it comes to sound, frankly whoever is bothering himself with production values and technical terms will find several flaws, however, as old school as the material is, the generated BLITZKRIEG sound suited them. Consequently, "Back From Hell" is a well reserved release of British Metal nature, younger Metalheads would be able to assert who influenced who and take point from there and respect their Metal godfathers.
Well it has been just over half a decade and sin and greed have prevailed in the theater of the damned, such that another BLITZKRIEG is unleashed. This tenacious act are truly “Back From Hell” and assuming control, such that they have allowed for the proper time of changes, as Brian, Bill and Ken return for their latest mission to seek out new fans and destroy any illusions from their past; thereby preserving the spirit of the legend.
As much as I worship SATAN's latest offering, I was so anticipating to be equally as enthralled with this return to the deluge, and unholy true nitty gritty , as only the vice kings know how do. Unfortunately, as much as this is a well-written album, it is not recapturing their glory, as much as I had hoped, and this creates for me a complicated issue. I adore the vocals of Brian Ross, and I am pleased that he has created the time to work on a new BLITZKRIEG release. There are some damn good songs on here that are real soul stealers, and some fillers as well. So prepare to feel the pain, and the wraith of fury.
The album begins with a flashback to Whitechapel and Jack The Ripper leading into the title track and alluding to the Hughes Brothers excellent film with Johnny Depp. Then we are treated to the metalizer from yesterday, as “Buried Alive” is properly reworked with a modern touch. Then the best song present plays that is an experimental track dealing with pain and loss due to drug abuse called “Complicated Issue”, nicely balanced by alluring female vocals. “Return To The Village” serves as a sequel to “Escape From The Village” recapturing that absolutely powerful TRAITORS GATE vibe reminiscent of the “Time Of Changes” era, as does the closer “We Have Assumed Control”.
After this is when the album begins to splinter, because I am not quite sure what direction the band is headed. “Back From Hell” expresses a number of emotions, but some tracks are completely derailed. The narration from the movie “V For Vendetta” for the song “V” referring to the “Fifth Of December”, and the recusant Guy Fawkes give a sense of false hope for a rather basic song, with no real zip. “Sleepy Hollow” is just that: hollow, and lulling me to sleep. “Sahara” is a little too involved, too chugging, and not really amounting to anything enticing; I am just lost in the dust.
The savage beast culminating in “Call For The Priest” is an excellent homage to JUDAS PRIEST, but the lyrics are a bit too hell bent to pay proper homage to the infernal leathclad Metal Gods. Although, I do appreciate the roaring night howl scream for vengeance which Brian bellows. As if struck by lightning of the nations, they chose to pay homage to the mighty METALLICA. I suppose since both HOLOCAUST and DIAMOND HEAD have covered the band who blatantly stole their music, it is only befitting that BLITZKRIEG should also return the favor, in tow. I just wish they would have selected something from “Ride The Lightning”, as BLITZKRIEG riffs are present all over that album; especially, on “Trapped Under Ice” and the title track.
Overall, this is a solid release, and the crazy for you Brits are truly taking care of business. If you enjoy the last few albums from this decade, then I recommend giving this a fair listen; however, if you are longing for that classic '80s sound, or even the experimental style they attempted it the mid '90s, then “Back From Hell” may have you searching for your missed Avalon. Granted there are hints of the pure past buried in the live authenticity and perennial vision which I savor; however, there are moments where it is evident that they are just taking the easy way out, and letting us down.
Ever vigilant is the sentinel, and here is hoping that Brian and the boys back in town will take a look around and realize we want that Classic NWOBHM sound. I sincerely desire for them to rediscover their roots, and to realize that there are excellent bands like SATAN and RAVEN who continue to honor their past, while creating awesome Metal music in the present. Brothers, together we are strong.