"To Hellion and Back" (New Renaissance; 2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

One of the earliest female-fronted heavy metal bands, Hellion was born in 1982 and continues to record and perform today. This terrific two CD compilation is a perfect way to get caught up with or be introduced to the band.

Including tracks from early albums (like 1983's self-titled CD), early demos (produced by singer Ann Boleyn reportedly with a little help from Ronnie James Dio) and even a track from the band's latest CD (2014's "Karma's a Bitch"), "To Hellion and Back" traces the band's evolution from beginning to present. It's fascinating to listen to 1983's "Backstabber" and then 2014's "Hell Has No Fury." The band, its music (and and its myriad bandmembers over the years) has grown in its sound significantly, without leaving that rough edge behind. It's all heavy metal but it builds power and confidence as the years progress and that progression is captured here on these two CDs.

There were many tracks on this CD I could call my favorite, but one of them has to be Hellion's razor-sharp 1988 cover of the Judas Priest classic "Exciter." The final track, the aforementioned "Hell has No Fury," was strong enough for me to make me buy the band's latest CD.

The usual caveats apply to any CD compilation. Fans will complain that this track was included and this track wasn't and there will always arguments about what the band's best line-up was. Regardless, "To Hellion and Back" is a must have for those who have been fans of Hellion since the beginning and for those who are new to the band. Oh, and by the way: If you're interested in this CD it's better to buy it now than later - the first pressing is autographed personally by Ann Boleyn herself.

For more information, check out http://www.hellion.us/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Jun 2022 15:54:51 -0400 .