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On disc: HolyHell



Apocalypse - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars
HolyHell - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


www.holyhell.com







HolyHell

HolyHell
(Magic Circle Music - 2009)


Manowar fans will know what to expect from HolyHell's self-titled full-length debut, coz singer Maria Breon and her mates toured with Manowar extensively. The band was founded back in 2005 and the fivesome found in Joey DiMaio a mentor who signed them and also produced the album.
The open up with Wings Of Light, a symphonic metal tune with a catchy hookline. Maria Breon is classically trained, but even as she studied modern opera she isn't offering operatic vocals. That the music is played on a high level you will soon realize - and it's no surprise guitarist Joe Stump is called 'The Shred Lord' and keyboarder Francisco Palomo studied music, science of musical education and dramatics. Ex-Manowar drummer Rhino needs no introduction and session bassist Jay Rigney will soon be known by symphonic metal fans and not just by musicians! You might say that it doesn't make a band, if everybody is skilled, but these five individuals create some magic moments together! With Revelations they present a balladesque mid-tempo track with a dash of sadness and intense vocals. It's Maria's expressive vocals which ennoble the song. A powerful, catchy is Eclipse followed by The Fall, a dark ballad. Maria's vocals will enchant you! It starts with piano, but then becomes a symphonic power ballad. And again HolyHell show that this is not a competition of extra-ordinary musicians, a clash of egos, at HolyHell songs everybody gets a chance to shine. Bombastic and with powerful drumming they head into Angel Of Darkness! The keyboard gives it a sacral edge. Holy Water is a bombastic up-tempo rocker and Joe Stump gets a chance to show why he's called 'The Shred Lord'! But Francisco Palomo adds a solo as well. After the instrumental Mephisto they head full force into Gates Of Hell. The contrast between the hammering drums, heavy riffs and the melodic keyboard is making this one stick out - and on top of it Maria's voice. In my opinion this song shows all the trademarks of the HolyHell sound, but you can take Resurrection as well, even if it's slower it has power. Apocalypse and Armageddon they come to an end. Lyrically Maria adapted the biblical story of the apocalypse which she reinterpret in her own way.
HolyHell were right to take time to grow together, the album shows that it was worth waiting. The album offers 71 minutes of symphonic metal and should cut time short til they hit the road. I can't wait to hear more of HolyHell!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Apocalypse

Apocalypse
(Magic Circle Music - 2007)


The American band started in 2005 and also played the two festivals in Europe in the same year - and not even had a CD out! But when you take a closer look then it gets quite obvious. HolyHell are on the label of Manowar bassist Joey DeMaio - who also was involved in the songwriting - and they got the chance to play with Manowar. Perhaps it helped to have former Manowar drummer Rhino in the band... Anyway, on the 4-track CD they present 3 HolyHell songs and a live version of The Phantom Of The Opera. Beside that the CD has a video of The Phantom Of The Opera which was recorded at the Czech Masters Of Rock festival. But what's most important - the music! They describe their style as symphonic power metal with angelic operatic vocals.
The first track is the title track Apocalypse which is written by Joey DeMaio and Manoel Staropoli (his brother is part of Rhapsody Of Fire) - like Last Vision. The opening song starts off very symphonic, but also heavy. The music steps back when Maria Breon starts singing - at least for a moment. This song is like a musical mixture of Manowar (heaviness), Rhapsody Of Fire (symphonic sounds) and with a bit of Nightwish due to Maria's operatic vocals, even if her tone is deeper (mezzo soprano?) and warmer. Resurrection - also not written by the band - is more mid-tempo with pounding bass, some bells ringing in the background and a very melodic guitar and keyboard melody. Maria sounds a bit different... Partly it's almost spoken words and then high angelic parts. The song has a more modern sound, but here I miss the warmth in her voice. Guitarists Joe Stump and Tom Hess support the song and don't try to step upfront, even if there is a solo part in the middle of the song. The pounding bass of Jay Rigney and the powerful drums of Rhino deliver the basis for the solo part - well, for all the songs. The live version of The Phantom Of The Opera is interesting, but I would have preferred to get another song of them. Especially as this song is included as a video on this MCD. But it's well performed and the duet with Eric Adams is cool, even if it shows that Mr. Adams voice can't keep up with the trained voice of Maria Breon... Last, but not least it's time for Last Vision! Bombastic starts Last Vision and so let me think again of Nightwish, but the vocals are less operatic... Especially when they speed up the vocals get more emotional and it fits very good to the music.
To check out I recommend Last Vision, but I think only time will tell which way they go. And what they present us on their first full-length album - and perhaps they surprise us with some songs written by themselves...


7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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