Review Summary: The eponymous EP by Hellion is nothing but excellent female fronted ‘80s metal with a seamless punk attitude.
In our times, it is common knowledge that the rise of punk rock at the dusk of the ‘70s gave a good push to the newly (then) born heavy metal scene, gave birth to thrash metal, while it almost eradicated the decaying and over-ambitious scene of ‘70s progressive rock dinosaurs. However, during those days of old, the influence of punk rock on “classic” metal was not readily obvious. The DIY way of doing things, the taking over of old and abandoned buildings by anarchist groups and the formation of bands without any prior of music knowledge whatsoever, were strictly classified as standard punk rock conduct. Truth is though, that some of the aforementioned punk ethics were starting to diffuse into traditional metal, even from the first days of both genres.
Hellion, a traditional heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California is a non-trivial case in point. The band’s female singer Ann Boleyn (who would later turn into a ‘80s metal underground icon) had taken over an abandoned and assumed to be haunted mansion, where she hosted the first rehearsals and DIY concerts of the band. Soon enough, Hellion had gathered enough acclaim to be nominated best LA band for 1983 in Streetzine magazine. This nomination earned the band a deal for a single with the punk label Mystic Records, while later on, Music For Nations offered a deal for the band’s eponymous EP, which is an excellent piece of ‘80s metal decorated with a seamless punk attitude.
In their first days, Hellion were playing covers of bands such as Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC, in order to bond as a band and that attained strength is readily evident in the EP. The first song, “Don’t Take No (For An Answer)” is a solid tribute to the last of the aforementioned bands, as it bears a granite-solid mid tempo rhythm section and main riff. The excess quality point throughout the EP lies in Boleyn’s vocals, which carry as much balls as ten of her male colleagues. Harsh sounding and dangerous, Boleyn really doesn’t take no for an answer (sic) and delivers her goods with an awesome attitude. Her lyrics, although they carry a certain degree of naivety, they are a hymn to freedom, unconditional love (“Driving Hard (For You")) and the right attitude towards fellow man. The next three songs follow a more classic metal approach, influenced mainly from the solo work of Ozzy or major bands such as Iron Maiden (listen to “Backstabber”). The overall musicianship of the record is really above average, with the guitars churning out the right riffs and solos for the right reason, while the audible bass is pure orgasm.
Instead of a prologue; the only “drawback” of the EP is that it has only 4 songs, however it is completely devoid of filler material. This EP can be served as a refreshing shot of female fronted ‘80s metal, in cases where every other musical proposal seems to be out of function.