Bands that are considered part of the The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, otherwise known as NWOTHM (seems that us metalheads have a fondness for abbreviating our movements) are usually hit or miss when it comes to actual songwriting and the ability to pull it off without sounding like a gimmick. Chicago’s Satan’s Hallow just released their debut, self titled, full length album and, while not bringing anything new to the table, they allow their songwriting to do the talking. This album has all the ingredients for being a true throwback; short album length and shorter song lengths, initially being released on vinyl, etc.
A perfect example of this is the album opener, “Reaching for the Night.” This is one of those traditional powerhouse metal album openers from yesteryear….except it’s from this year! Female vocalist Mandy Martillo brings an old school Doro Pesch vibe to the music on this album so right away you get the idea that this band means business. This is a speedy number with twin leads riffs opening it up. The guitar solos are godly and the tone of the guitars during the solos is perfect. In fact, the entire album has an old school sound in the recording. Such an organic sound gives this album more of an honest feel to it. By the end of the opener you’re pumped up ready for more.
What sets this band apart from a lot of the so called throwback bands is that they can write a killer metal song that can stand side by side with any of the classics of the 80s. “Black Angel” just kicks ass from beginning to end. A riff laden mid pacer that’s impossible not to love it’s so damn catchy. The solos shred having lead battles before morphing into dual leads; I’m getting goosebumps listening to it now. “Moving On” actually reminds me of a speedy Diamond Head song. The vocal melodies have that feel to them and once again the solos shine. The title track has a catchy main riff that will have you headbanging and throwing the horns within the first ten seconds. “Still Alive” is a scorcher that is a more slow to mid paced song but is almost epic in it’s feel. The dual lead riffs provide melody and the chorus is catchy as fuck.
I just discovered this band a week or so ago and already this album is in regular listening rotation. Just thirty four minutes in length it will leaving you wanting more but there’s more metal in that thirty four minutes than in a skyscraper. This is an album I would recommend to any metal fan. This is a classic in the making and I am already looking forward to their sophomore release.