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Hellfire - Requiem For My Bride (CD)

Hellfire
Requiem For My Bride
by Grigoris Chronis at 31 May 2005, 8:47 PM

Be it good or bad, I can't keep away from building a preliminary opinion whether an album will please me or not from its cover. This, of course, has many times been proven to be a completely non-logical approach, since in that way I'd never have the chance to worship specific releases in the history of Metal music from e.g. Cloven Hoof's A Sultan's Ransom (1989) to Omen's Battle Cry (1984), or even the Scorpions' Lovedrive (1979).
Premier Greek Metal label Sonic Age Records has so far offered excellent releases (or re-releases), mainly focusing on a roster of bands with a traditional, pure Metal approach (e.g. Overlorde, Valkija or Manilla Road). Still, this specific release presents Hellfire, a band from Poland with a style not that similar to the pre-mentioned classic touch - don't expect any Death/Black/Nu vibe either. Formed in 1999, in Warsaw, the quartet issued its first - self financed - album Recoffination in 2003 gaining encouraging reviews from the Polish and the European Press. A single under the Where Is The Answer? title came out in 2004 as a teaser for their upcoming (then) release, a concept album we're now chatting about.
Straight to the point now: Requiem For My Bride is an excellent release; I didn't believe it would be that good. Amazing guitar work - the six-string axemen must be really influenced by the Shermann/Denner legendary duo - backed up by an affluent rhythm section, while Twardowski's vocal abilities are really notable with all these harmony changes during each song - so as to fit to the concept scenario (not the best accent but nothing average). The production is a must: clear, distinct, a cross path between classic and modern. I believe that the band has done a marvelous work - haven't heard its previous release - with lots of 80's European elements filtered through a dark intention.
High-pitched vocal parts clearly bring King Diamond in mind, while - of course - Andy La Rocque's style is also apparent in the harmony/lead parts of songs like Needle Dance or Insidious Treat. In general, all three instrumentalists are unbelievably skilled, thus credited for not choosing to follow the easy let's-copy-Dream-Theater-and-Co. path. Forgive me for not providing you with any data on the concept story on which the lyrical themes are based on, since there's no such info in the promo CD - except for a hint of similarities with the King's classic Abigail (1987) or Them (1988) albums.
For those who know the following band: Hellfire's songwriting mode - omit the vocalist - strongly reminded me of Mike Wead's (ex-King Diamond - keep it in the family…) Hexenhaus releases in the late 80's/early 90's. If that helps…
You've read enough. Are you fond of 80's Scandinavian complex theatrical Metal? What about Zed Yago? Even Blind Guardian's most dark moments will remind you of Hellfire. Technical Metal, powerful (even Thrash sometimes) and honest. Eventually - mentioned in the review's intro- it's only the cover I didn't like. Thank you guys for proving me wrong!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Fallen Mary
Road To Hell
The House
Needle Dance
Twist Of Knife
Wired Tale / Deadly Lullaby
Insidious Treat
Defection
…The Answer
Lineup:
Tomasz Twardowski - Vocals
Artur Grabowski - Guitar
Kuba Olejnik -Guitar
Grzegorz Olejnik - Drums
Record Label: Sonic Age Records
     


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