I gotta admit, I am always sceptical when it comes to new releases in the classic heavy metal scene due to the flooding of the style. A few years back, the new wave of traditional heavy metal trend started with more and more bands going back to the roots of heavy metal, similar to the new wave of british heavy metal. While the latter was sucked dry to the last coin in collectors’ pockets, the NWOTHM is still going strong, even though it is lacking the quality of some of the great NWOBHM artists. Granted, this is all very stereotyped thinking, but the increase of young bands playing traditional metal is palpable. Take this year’s Visigoth release for example. A fine piece of classic steel by some really young musicians.
Looking at the band photo, Spanish headbangers Evil Hunter surely aren’t as young but follow in the same vein of playing traditional heavy metal without any modern affectations. Such devotion is certainly admirable and earns the band some sympathy points in my book. In contrast to groups like Visigoth, Evil Hunter don’t go quite as hard on the denim-and-leather Manowar appeal, neither musically nor visually, and in turn provide a tamer, more hard rock influenced album.
Opener “Surf The Waves” and title track “Evil Hunter” neatly showcase Evil Hunter‘s musical range – fast songs and mid-tempo songs. Both songs feature an extremely melodic chorus that contrasts the heavy riffing and aggressive vocals of lead singer Damián Chicano. Not aggressive in the sense of death metal or hardcore, but each of his lines delivers a good punch with his lower register squealing, guttural singing. Partly because of that, Evil Hunter‘s music reminds me of the Portuguese Attick Demons. Which is not a bad place to be.
With their first album, Evil Hunter ride through all possible influences of classic heavy metal. Their dual guitars lend a certain Iron Maiden vibe, “Hot Leather” is a Saxon carbon copy and “By Your Side” has you relive those ’80s “I Want To Know What Love Is” moments. That’s all pretty nice and well-calculated, some songs really grip you and make you want more, but ultimately most of the tracks are just average. Singer Damián Chicano’s voice stands out and makes this release better than its compositions. I enjoy the concise length of 35 minutes and 8 fast-paced tracks (except the ballad), but probably will not listen to this album a lot more. The tracks are too average and don’t kick hard enough for a heavy metal release except for one or two. The sound is good, the songwriting seems versed, but sadly not very varied.
Evil Hunter deliver a gem for scene afficionados who crave new old school music. The same is true for many albums released through Fighter Records by the way, so anyone looking for some underground treasures should check out their catalog. The spaniards likely won’t make a huge impact internationally but their effort is valiant and a promise of greater things to come. I could imagine someone enamored with the music style to enjoy it way more than I did.