Hellion- “To Hellion and Back”-
Hellion was born in 1982 and was part of the underground metal scene beginning to bubble over in the Los Angeles area. Take the heaviness and occult imagery of W.A.S.P. and mix in a lethal dose of classic metal riffage and melody delivered by a female singer and its easy to see why Hellion was sadly way ahead of their time. The past twenty years have seen a wave of female fronted groups in the metal genre and its not bullshit to say that even the best of them (Huntress, Arch Enemy) probably owe a tip of the hat to Ann Boleyn and Hellion.
That’s why its cool to see this double cd retrospective”To Hellion and Back” which not only serves as a way to digitally replace long worn or long lost classic Hellion vinyl but also as an excellent introduction to anyone new to the band. The double disc collection features a great booklet ( first pressing autographed by Ann) and gathers together some of the band’s classic previously released material, some rarities and even some new material from the 2014 lineup of Hellion.
The original material is from various releases from Hellion and is a nice overview of the band’s career beginning with their 1983 self-titled and continuing with tracks from “Screams in the Night”, “Postcards From The Asylum” “The Black Book” and “Will Not Go Quietly” the transfer sounds great here and the rock is strong enough to stand out even when occasionally limited by early 80s production.
The real draw for many on ‘To Hellion and Back” is probably the odds, ends and rarities that are included in this collection. This material includes three fantastic demos (Run For Your Life, The Witching Hour and Get Ready) which were done for the band by Ronnie James Dio and Angelo Arcuri back when Hellion was touring with Dio. These three songs are metal as hell and even as demos sound so full of promise and power
The best news about “To Hellion and Back” is the strength of the 2014 song included here, “Hell Hath No Fury”. The track, rounded out by a great performances from Ann (who still posseses a phenomenal set of pipes) as well as ex Dio stalwarts Simon Wright and Scott Warren, and bodes well for the bands upcoming new full-length album “Karma is A Bitch”. If there is a classic band to keep an eye on this year and beyond its Hellion. Pick this up and take a walk on the dark side of early 80s sunset strip metal.