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Does that cover look slightly familiar? If it doesn't, I suggest you dive into your collection and search for a certain 1982 release by a certain band called Judas Priest (you might have heard of them). That's right, this is The Hellion, and it's back with a vengeance.
Musically, it resembles the heavier tracks on the album as well as a good deal of NWOBHM (mostly the speedy variant). The opening track, the eponymous Volture, is an excellent example of what I mean, an onslaught of catchy, up-tempo riffs accompanied by Brent Hubbard's soaring vocals.
Which brings me to my next point, the vocals. Brent Hubbard is an excellent singer. He has a powerful, charismatic mid-range, and his high notes are absolutely stunning. The chorus of Cheap Thrillz showcases this best with soaring falsetto tearing straight through the audible spectrum, demolishing all in its path.
Another man who deserves a special mention is Nick Poulos. Dave Boyd (of Twisted Tower Dire) joined them later, but on this ep Nick was the only guitarist. Every fantastic riff and every single blazing solo are all by his hands. I never checked out his work with Cannabis Corpse or Parasytic, but I really want to. He is a truly amazing guitarist, worthy of more attention than he receives.
The rhythm section consists of Ryan Waste on bass and Barry Cover on drums. Ryan Waste has been Municipal Waste's guitarist for over 10 years and here he proves he is a great bass player as well. He delivers a myriad of great bass lines that do a fantastic job of complementing the stellar riffs. Barry Cover is the perfect drummer for this kind of music. He is very energetic, delivering a lot of effective beats and interesting fills without ever becoming overindulgent.
Highlights? The aforementioned Volture as well as Heavy Metal Machine. Pretty much every song on here is worth your time, though. Admittedly, the lyrics to Cheap Thrillz are (as the title suggests) pretty cheesy and I don't particularly care for them, but the music and Brent's singing in the chorus more than make up for that.
Despite all of my praise and the high score, it's not flawless. One complaint I have is that the transitions feel a little sudden at times, which hurts the flow of the album. The best example of this would be in Volture at around the 1:33 mark. In the grand scheme of things it's not that important, but for me it's a mild annoyance.
When all is said and done, this is an excellent ep that I would strongly recommend to anyone who likes early '80s heavy metal.
When I first heard about Ryan Waste’s side project traditional metal band, I got absolutely pumped and when I found out the pre-order date, I made sure to order my copy of Shocking It’s Prey that same morning on cd and vinyl (and a t-shirt too of course). When it arrived in the mail, I put the cd in, and was blown away by what came out of my speakers.
The first song was the band’s namesake, “Volture.” This song packs a punch on all levels. Shredding guitars, soaring vocals, pounding drums, and driving bass (courtesy of Ryan Waste), lyrics telling of a vulture made of steel and electricity; this song just has it all! The next song keeps this pure metal moving with the song “Heavy Metal Machine.” This song is just a pure classic, telling of an amazing car with all the futuristic powers. Vocalist Brent Hubbard just does a fantastic job on vocals on this song, as with every other song on this mini lp.
The next 2 songs; “The Horde” and “Night Walker” are once again instant classics. These songs lyrics both deal with death and a murder. The music is just fantastic and once again everything is just working for Volture. The next track, “Cheap Thrillz” is my personal favorite off “Shocking It’s Prey.” This song just has everything that metal is and should be, and some of the most humorous lyrics I’ve ever heard. I love Brent Hubbard’s vocals on it, he displays his full range and it’s extremely impressive. The lyrics tell of a hook up with a groupie after a show, and features one of the best lines ever sang: “money shot deposited right into her bank.” How could you not love that!? Volture then closes off “Shocking It’s Prey” with a little Satanism and death in “Heathen’s Revenge.” A dark tune but with pure metal and it is well crafted. A fantastic way to end the mini lp.
“Shocking It’s Prey” clocked in at about 22 minutes, and was some of the best 22 minutes I have ever heard. Brent Hubbard (vocals), Ryan Waste (bass), Barry Cover (drums), and Nick Poulos (guitar) all play to their full potential and never for one second doubt themselves on this album. Some may say this is just another “retro-band” and I hate that term, they are playing the music they love, who cares if it’s in a style that started 30 years or so ago? They are playing what they love and doing it damn well and Volture proves that. Am I being over generous in giving them a perfect score of 100/100, I don’t think so one bit, I never second guessed that score and I’m not going to now.
They amazed me and deserve it, they are a force to be reckoned with, so watch out Enforcer, White Wizzard, Steelwing, and Cauldron, you have a new competitor in the field and dare I say they may possibly be the best out there right now? Once a full length comes out will be the true test to see if they stand up to the challenge. Incredible job guys I look forward to seeing what you all bring forth in the future!
Steel& Fire Records