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Hellion - 'To Hellion And Back' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/a8/e8/0e/hellion-to-hellion-and-back-51-1403634510.jpg Hot

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Any fans of the current crop of Female-Fronted Metal bands will appreciate this anthology to see where it all started.

Female-Fronted Metal bands are ten a penny these days, but back in the early eighties things were very different, with just a handful of females striving to make a living in a male-dominated market. However, the likes of Bitch, The Plasmatics, Lee Aaron, Warlock and of course Girlschool proved that the girls had what it takes to Rock as hard as the boys, along with Hellion. Fronted by the enigmatic Ann Boleyn, the band started out in 1983 when the NWOBHM scene was in its ascendancy, and influencing many of its stateside cousins. Though bands of their ilk were being snapped up by the major labels, Hellion were all but ignored, despite regularly headlining shows at the likes of The Troubadour and The Whiskey in L.A.

Recently inking a deal with London based Cherry Red Records, the cleverly titled 'To Hellion And Back' is a two-disc set covering Hellion's past. Five of the six songs from the 1983 self-financed debut EP 'Hellion' are included, 'Backstabber' and 'Driving Hard' displaying a Hard-Rocking Judas Priest style, while 'Up From The Depths' hinted at the direction Hellion would eventually take. The EP made its way into the U.K. Rock charts and a tour of the U.S.A. supporting Alcatraz ensued, which resulted in Ronnie James Dio and his wife Wendy taking the band under their wing. Two songs from the Dio produced sessions are present here, the rampaging 'Run For Your Life' and 'Get Ready' hinting at Dio's own band, but still a record deal was not forthcoming. Another rare demo, 'Witching Hour', is also included.

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Following a re-vamp of the line-up (triggered by Boleyn being fired from her own band!), Music For Nations signed the band in the U.K. for the albums 'Screams In The Night' (1987), 'Postcards From The Asylum' mini-album (1988) and 'Black Book' (1990). The selections from each ensuing release portrays a much more theatrical and darker style in the vein of early Savatage, incorporating Iron Maiden styled galloping rhythms, while developing occult lyrical themes. Their cover of Judas Priest's 'Exciter' is also present.

The early nineties saw Hellion on hiatus, then their 2003 comeback 'Will Not Go Quietly' was released by Massacre Records, solely in Germany, 'Shit (Is Gonna Hit The Fan)' and 'Dead And Gone' saw Hellion moving with the times displaying their heaviest and most contemporary sounding effort to date. Despite this, Hellion was again put on hiatus, until the 2013 deal came through. Preview track 'Hell Hath No Fury', from the forthcoming 'Karma's A Bitch' album, sees Hellion going back to the Priest/Maiden sound of old.

Any fans of the current crop of Female-Fronted Metal bands will appreciate this anthology to see where it all started.

Ant Heeks

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