Alice In Thunderland – Hellfire

Band: Alice In Thunderland
Album: Hellfire
Release date: 23rd March 2012
Genre: Classic Rock/NWOBHM
Label: Unsigned/Self-Released

Alice In Thunderland have been an active part of the Yorkshire music scene for several years, supporting acts such as NWOBHM legends Blitzkrieg and Tygers Of Pan Tang, as well bands such as Ravenage, Clown Corpse and Cryptic Age. After two years of being recorded and produced by Mikey Bolton at Powerstage Studio, the band’s fourth album Hellfire is finally available.

The album begins with the thundering roar of guitars that kick start Something Is Coming. Frontwoman Kala’s are both powerful and emotive as they echo throughout the song, adding a feeling of melancholy to the music. The bass adds extra punch to the song, whilst the solo injects a very NWOBHM sound. Hey Hey takes on a darker approach with the guitars in the intro, sounding almost like a mix of Black Sabbath and Paradise Lost. Kev’s bass work blends handsomely with Kala’s vocals and Stu’s drumming. The guitars are overwhelmingly raw and meaty, keeping the track sounding strong.

The third track Take To The Limit turns the tempo of the album up several notches, sounding ever so slightly like a faster edition of a Whitesnake track but only heavier and more aggressive. Of course, the track does contain a mellow section that I find to be a quite genius part of the song, due to the emotional and embracing atmosphere of the softer, melodic guitar section that are carried ever so gently by the drums into the first, sagaic-sounding solo of the track, provided by Tony Dixon. The second solo of the track, performed by Tony Dean, has a more classic rock meets thrash metal sound flowing throughout it, adding an admirable contrast to the song.

Control has the previous sounds of Alice In Thunderland’s discography mixed into the guitars with a dash of elephantine riffs. The vocals are as hypnotic as a swinging pendulum, whilst the drums are crisp, like freshly lain snow. The solo, performed by Dixon, has a very behemothic sound which thunders through the speakers like Thor’s chariot racing through the sky. Always Forever is a song I’m delighted to hear on the album, as it’s one of my favourite songs that the band perform at shows. The intro is slow, melodic and soothing before leading the song into its staunch, classic rock sound. Kala’s vocals adapt to the changes in the song, infusing them with the soft and heavy sections. The heavy riffs of Are You Ready are another one of my fond memories of previous Thunderland performances. The guitar and bass sections bounce off each other masterfully, creating that unique AIT sound that the band’s fans are so well accustomed to.

I’m not gonna lie, the second I heard Voices blast through my speakers, a smile slid across my face. The song has always been my favourite track performed by Alice In Thunderland. The guitar riffs, masterfully played by Tony Dean, have a crisp, melodic sound that really bring out the emotion in Kala’s vocals, especially during in the chorus. The song has a certain energy that bursts from the music, enhancing the strength of the song. The one thing really sticks out the most though is the use of a clean guitar section, over the heavier riffs, that leads into the 70s stylised solo. The album comes to one of its last stops, before the end, in the form of Frozen, which despite the name is a spirited but dark track. Kala’s vocals truly reflect the spirited sound whilst the music portrays the dark part of the song. The chorus is one of those that will stick to you like glue, due to it being so memorable. The lyrics are very invoking of emotions, adding to the darkness that the music provides. The solo brings a very modern sound to the album, which is both surprising and pleasant.

No album is ever complete without a title track and so the album finishes on its title track Hellfire. The music differs greatly from the last track, bringing a potent atmosphere and rugged sound to the sound, which in my opinion, works well with what the song deals with lyrically. Mikey Bolton guest stars on this track, providing some very punchy backing vocals that help a dynamic sound to both the song and the album. Kev’s bass work is undeniably well performed and passionate, much like Dean’s playing and Dixon’s solo. Stu’s drumming on this track feels more zealous and alert than I’ve ever known it to be. Kala’s are on top form as well, throughout this track, adding a gentle feel to the rawness of the music.

After hearing the album in its entirety I am left wondering why Alice In Thunderland aren’t playing some of the big festivals or touring with the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and at a push, Megadeth. The band have managed to incorporate a healthy mix of classic rock and NWOBHM with a dash of modern influences and the production values on the album, thanks to Mikey Bolton, deserve an entire review of their own as the album sounds beyond epic but still retains that raw, untamed sound. Alice In Thunderland really do deserve more recognition for their work and Hellfire is bona fide evidence of that.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Hellfire is available from the band via their Facebook page, which can be found here.

Don’t forget to that Alice In Thunderland are supporting Severed Heaven at The Lamp on April 29th. Tickets are available £3 in advance from the band.

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