When you listen to Holyhell there are a number of comparisons that can be immediately drawn and the first one comes via its musicality being very similar to that of Nightwish. The female fronted Power Metal band while using some elements of it are not entirely a Symphonic Metal outfit and instead keep the format a little more conventional with the occasional delving into the symphonic side for larger atmosphere. The four song EP Apocalypse is a good way to absorb what they are all about and gives the listener the beautiful lead singer in Maria Broen and guitar hero via Joe Stump. Maria has a nice voice and comes off as very powerful in her vocal register which is vastly different from the Operatic branding that listeners have come to grow used to in bands that have female leads. The first track is very much like Nightwish even in its format and that might set fans of the band on their ear since it came be viewed as unoriginal even though it's a fine track. "Resurrection" is a straight forward Metal tune with some blistering guitar work from Stump and a powerful chorus finale. The tune was recorded live at Monsters Of Rock in 2005. Another live tune comes on the EP via "The Phantom Of The Opera" and the inclusion of this tune was a nice touch in some sense but after hearing it already performed to excellence by the aforementioned Nightwish makes me find their version almost irrelevant. The band also presents the vocal duet with Manowar's Eric Adams during the tune but I will stick with the Broadway original of the Finnish version at this point. "Last Vision" was also an enjoyable track and had a slight homage to the Classical Rock band Renaissance based on the vocal feel. One can only wonder if Ms. Broen was ever influenced by Annie Haslam who many might remember as had an amazing and inspiring range when she sang with the band.
At the end of the day this is purely for the diehards who follow this kind of band for while I liked what I heard there was nothing that knocked me down as much as some of the others I am following. I prefer the likes of Epica, After Forever, Nightwish and Sirenia when it comes down to it and feel that in order to survive in this particular format that Holyhell needs to kick it up a notch or three. Good luck gang.
3. Phantom Of The Opera (Live)
4. Last Vision