‘Mania’ is Hellfire’s third full album release after ‘Metal Masses’ (2016) and ‘Free Again’ (2017). The four piece unit are from San Francisco, California and were formed in 2010. I was quite apprehensive about stepping out of my genre zone again for this one, but I’m glad I did. There’s a great mixture on ‘Mania’ of Power and Speed Metal.
Opener ‘Warpath’s’ opening riff is Iron Maiden’s ‘Back In The Village’ all over. It’s a great intro and a proper Rock’N’Roll track this. Thumping throughout, with a legendary finish. A cross-over between Motorhead and very early Metallica. Title track ‘Mania’ begins with a Cliff Burton style bass lick from Herman Bandala which works perfectly before the track transcends into a tirade of riffs, double bass drums and all out onslaught. The sound on Bandala’s bass is stunning. Dirty, filthy, call it what you will. There’s great dual guitar work from Tony Campos too. Proper metal with a hint of Judas Priest thrown in for good measure.
‘On The Loose’ is some classic ‘old school’ metal straight from the late 80’s and I think that the production on this album allows the music to sound this way, which is great because ‘Born To Burn’ is very Exodus and again moulded from that same era. Bandala again shining in this with some stunning bass work.
The more tracks I hear brings me to the conclusion that Hellfire are a mixture (for me) of two bands. Iron Maiden and early Metallica. You have the clever riffing and dual guitar work of Maiden, paired with the filthy rhythm section of Metallica. Have a listen to ‘Transcending Evil’. A beautiful ballad for the first couple of minutes which then releases into what can only be described as a tune parallel with Maiden’s ‘Children Of the Damned’ chorus. Brilliant stuff and best song so far on this album. In fact, there isn’t a bad song here whatsoever. Whether it’s ‘Lashing Out’, ‘Isolator’ or the incredible ‘The Dreamer’. The latter having a Thin Lizzy feel to it. Clever guys.
‘Knights Of The Holy’ is uncomfortably close to Steve Harris’ awakening bass solo in ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ for me, but Campos’ guitar work more than makes up for this blip. ‘Masochist’ ensures that this great album closes with a great song. Again it’s proper metal. A great effort by this band to fly the flag for all the 80’s metallers out there!
1 – Warpath
2 – Mania
3 – On The Loose
4 – Born To Burn
5 – Transcending Evil
6 – Lashing Out
7 – Isolator
8 – The Dreamer
9 – Knights Of The Holy
10 – Masochist
Line-up: Herman Bandala – Bass / Jake Nunn – Vocals / Mike Smith – Drums / Tony Campos – Guitar