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Submit Or Die (1985)

A five-piece unit from Sunnyvale, California, Hellhound sound pretty heavy. They’ve been around since 1981 and until last year made a living playing Venom, Slayer, Angelwitch and Iron Maiden covers. Since the addition of vocalist Mike Walish though, they’ve blossomed out into an original, heavy duty act.

Hellhound deliberately stay away from the juvenile “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” lyrics and write more about everyday life. They write about actual events in the history of this fair planet as well as in their own life, and they also steer clear of writing about nuclear war and Satanism.

If you can imagine what Queensrÿche were doing at the beginning of their career, mixed with lethal doses of Fates Warning, Omen, Jag Panzer etc., then you’ve got where Hellhound are at. They’re not perfect, but they’ve certainly got the edge above many a signed act.

The six-track demo is impressive in its heavy approach and, at times, such as on the killer ‘Flee The Bomb’ (which isn’t about nuclear war) and the exceptionally heavy’n’fast ‘Killing Spree’, they just simply swamp you with a wall of sound. By the way, ‘Killing Spree’ is all about the Southern California McDonald’s massacre.

The band, whose line-up boasts Steve Pelletier (drums), Rich Pelletier (bass), Robert Kolowitz (guitar), Bob Edwards (guitar) and the aforementioned Walish, are due to release a second demo shortly. The Submit Or Die demo reviewed here was recorded at a 16-track studio, so they have the means to produce another solid piece of product I should think. Watch out for ’em.

Dave Reynolds

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 17 (1986)

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