RidingEasy Records has been delivering some great stuff this year between Zig-Zags, Bus and my latest discovery Hell Fire. The band has been around for about a decade, having put out two albums previously in the more recent years. The latest effort Mania hit the scenes around the beginning of this year, and it was also their first disc to be released through a label. They make a fascinating brand of speed metal that’s on the tamer side.
Don’t let the word “tamer” fool you though, because the only reason I say that is due to the heavy focus on melody. “On The Loose” is one of the better numbers that displays everything clearly. You have fast riffs and a booming intro with higher guitar wails. But the verses are steady and resemble many of the 1970’s heavy metal bands. Mania offers plenty of falsettos and vocal harmony to go well with it. Other songs like “Isolator” focus on building a bottom-heavy construct, mostly thanks to the thicker bass presence.
One downfall here is that things go on a little long. Seeing that the run-time comes close to fifty minutes, it gets harder and harder to remain focused nearing the last ten or so. It’s easy enough to get through, since the songs themselves are solid, it just could use either a tad more variance or a tad shorter runtime. That said, “Transcending Evil” stands out significantly because of its acoustic core. The transitions and layering here is beautiful, and the placement about halfway through the albums helps break things up.
Maybe Hell Fire aren’t the type of band that will first come to mind when you hear speed metal, as that’s not where all the focus is. The presence still makes itself clear, and I see this as no fault. But anyone who likes traditional heavy metal that’s got cleaner production may just fancy this disc. Best of all, nothing is too polished.