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Razor talons shocking its prey... - 81%

super_ruben09, June 12th, 2012

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.