Hell's history goes way back to 1982, when this British band first burst onto the NWOBHM scene and turned quite a few heads with their brand of exciting metal. Constant touring and the release of a demo EP however didn't score the band a record contract, and after the suicide death of singer Dave Halliday in 1987 the band disappeared from the scene never to be heard from again...until now. Little did the world know that a certain Andy Sneap was a regular attendee at many a Hell gig, becoming a huge supporter of the band, and he carried that love through a successful career as guitarist for Sabbat and mega producer for many popular metal acts. A few years back Sneap convinced the remaining members of Hell to reform the band, along with himself as second guitarist and new singer Dave Bower, re-record many of their old songs, and release their debut album Human Remains on Nuclear Blast.
Honestly, Human Remains sounds pretty damn fresh considering these songs are nearly 30 years old. Plenty of crunchy riffs and sizzling leads, occasional symphonic keyboards, a frenetic rhythm section, and Bower's histrionic vocals permeate each and every song, making this a somewhat thrashy, power metal ride that is highly enjoyable. Fans of Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, King Diamond, and Sanctuary would be well advised to check into this album, as Hell's music fits in nicely with the style of these acts, and then some. Tunes such as "On Earth as it is in Hell", "Plague and Fyre", "Let Battle Commence", and "Macbeth" are complete old school styled scorchers, with laters of riff-o-rama to incite plenty of air guitar battles, and Bower's over the top vocals are quite theatrical in a Warrel Dane/Hansi Kursch/King Diamond/Jon Oliva sort of way. Prog meta fans will love the symphonic epic "The Devil's Deadly Weapon", complete with tasty keyboards, dazzling twin guitar leads, thunderous riffs, and powerful vocals.
Though Hell have delivered a quite modern sounding CD here, there's still homage to the early greats such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate, as Sneap and Kev Bower weave a plenthora of riffs and leads around each other just like those original leaders of the NWOBHM did 30 years ago. Overall this is a pretty enjoyable album that hits on all the metal points quite well, delivering an old school styled metal barrage that warrants repeated spin after spin. Human Remains is highly recommended, and it will be interesting to see what these guys come up with next.
1. Overture Themes from Deathsquad
2. On Earth as It is in Hell
3. Plague and Fyre
4. The Oppressors
5. Blasphemy and the Master
6. Let Battle Commence
7. The Devil's Deadly Weapon
8. The Quest
10. Save Us from Those who Would Save Us
11. No Martyr's Cage