New Jersey metallers Midnite Hellion have been treading the boards since 2011. Although they’ve already released a live album, this is their first studio full-lengther.
After a comedic interlude to open the album, Midnite Hellion take a little while to get into their stride. The first two tracks don’t make much of an impact, bringing plenty of bluster without a lot of reward. Thus it’s up to third track Cross the Line to really kickstart proceedings. A tuneful thrasher with some great soloing, it’s really top notch stuff. Enter the Nightmare is slower but just as exciting, featuring some nice galloping riffage.
I’d like to highlight the guitar player at this point, but details are sketchy in the accompanying press release. A shame this, because whoever is playing the solos is a master craftsman!
Soldiers of Hades starts dramatically but is let down by a strangely weak vocal performance. Musically it’s another winner, mixing trad metal and eighties thrash well to give a sound that’s as satisfying as it is familiar. The Fever is grittier, less ambitious and with a distinct Hetfieldian twang in the vocal department. This is clearly vocalist/bassist Rich Kubik’s wheelhouse, and of all the material on offer it’s here that he sounds most at home. Some ‘great ‘prog-era’ Maidenesque guitars add to the fun.
Rip it Up is done and dusted in under two minutes and doesn’t really leave any mark. Penultimate track The Morrigan opens with the most used metal riff of all time (you know the one I mean I’m sure) and doesn’t really recover from such an underwhelming start. Finally whilst closing track Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos might have the best retro song title you’ll hear all year, the song doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
So Condemned to Hell is slightly dodgy at both ends but has a satisfyingly meaty filling. On the evidence of this, Midnite Hellion have enough about them to suggest that they’re worth persevering with, even if the results at the moment are a bit frustrating. Have a listen and decide for yourselves.
Midnite Hellion will release Condemned to Hell through Witches Brew on September 15th.