Warlock - Hellbound

Warlock - Hellbound - 3.5/5

So Warlock take their first unsure steps into the big leagues, signing with a major label eager to capitalize on the popularity of mid-'80's metal. Well, the results are mixed at best, the extra money adding a new sheen to Warlock's fiery brand of Teutonic thunder, but also removing some of that indie rawness that made the debut such a winning head bang.

Doro herself shines as usual, adding a little breathy raunch to her usual arsenal of vocal assaults. She does occasionally seem to stretch her range a bit, but otherwise turns in an exhilarating performance. The axewerk is precise and exacting once again, both players turning in another clinic in traditional metal fireworks. As for the drums, another less than perfect sound is produced, a victim of stilted '80's recording techniques popular at the time. Performance wise, they are bang on and serve the songs well.

If I had a major complaint about this release, it would lie within the production. The band comes off as a little dulled and toothless. Much of the aggression is lost in the glossy production values. It just sounds to me that a bit of bite is smoothed off in the audio upgrade. But no big deal, as the songs are well constructed and a joy to listen to as they heat up the old amp.

Overall, Hellbound isn't an upgrade over the debut so much as it is a side step and continuance of a tried and true formula. Tuneful melody, speed metal tirades, and the occasional enjoyable ballad combine to show that Warlock are indeed a metal force to be reckoned with. An enjoyable romp yes, but not fulfilling the potential shown on Burning The Witches, this album is a righteous head shake performed by a band that seemed a little subdued, but pursuing metal perfection. Still, recommended.

Standout tracks - Hellbound, Wrathchild, Time To Die