Highlighted this last list, didn't sell too many though, what's up with that?? Check out the video, people!
HELEVETES PORT "Exodus To Hell" (Pure Steel) $14.98
Jussi from Circle recommended this Swedish band to us (we've found out about a lot of cool bands thanks to our friend Jussi), and after we tracked down some copies of their cd, we realized we needed to recommend 'em to you, too! Helvetets Port (which means Gate of Hell or something like that) are a current band playing a very deliberately retro, almost tongue-in-cheek style of '80s heavy metal. Not a joke though. They're totally for real, yet revel in the most ridiculous aspects of the music they love so much and strive to emulate. You can immediately see how this would appeal to Jussi (and us), since the next better thing than Circle's "NWOFHM" is of course the actual NWOBHM, which this band is obviously especially inspired by. Helvetets Port are four metal-lovin' Swedes playing dress up in color-coordinated spandex and scarves, but going beyond that to deliver the goods with galloping guitars, piercing falsetto shrieks, wonderful lyrics about diamond claws, Japanese warlords, and the threat of being killed by a reaper. That's what's most charming about this band, their (inadvertently?) silly, seemingly earnest songwriting in the best "story-telling" Iron Maiden-esque tradition. Their songs, though none of 'em long (2-3 minutes, most of 'em), are all mini-prog epics, utterly over the top, the band pushing to the limit of their ability and beyond, always totally catchy but also a bit awkward, their ambitious arrangements quite quirky. The accent-laden vocals, too, sometimes seem a bit strained, but these factors are overruled by their enthusiasm and just add to this band's "real people" feel, making their retro NWOBHM worship (and not just NWOBHM, as we suspect they like other, over the top old schoolers like Manowar and Thor too) seem all the more authentic, bound for cult fandom if they can keep it up.
They remind us a bit of the USA's Harbinger, another young band who like to pretend it's 1983, in real life as well as on record, in fact, if you watch the impressive/hilarious video that's supposed to be included as a bonus on this disc (we couldn't actually find it, but it's on YouTube anyway) for their song "Lightning Rod Avenger" you'll see these kids doing things the old fashioned way...
This was produced by the singer from Enforcer, another spandex-clad Swedish metal band of retro persuasion whom we've recommended previously, though Helvetets Port way outdoes Enforcer with their sheer, sincere, imaginative eccentricity (if not in other ways too). Hail Helvetets Port!!
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