HELLFOX is a welcome breath of fresh air in the melodic space. The band brings attitude and masterful storytelling that captivates you from the very beginning. While the Italian quartet classifies themselves as an alternative metal band leaning towards melodic death metal, they’ve openly said how the band has utilised each other’s collective tastes to create something truly unique. Their debut full-length album, The Call, is the world’s first true glimpse of what the band has to offer.
Our Lady of Sorrows is the album’s first single and serves as a perfect introduction of what to come. It’s an addictive groove-laden track with meaty riffs that can be compared to the likes of METALLICA while also having the softness of melodic bands like AVANTASIA and even EPICA. The EPICA comparison is especially relevant when the band makes use of the beast vocals, of which the beast vocals are done by Priscilla Foresti.
Raising continues to unravel the many layers of HELLFOX as it masterfully blends several different styles, from 90s grunge to groove metal and melodic metal. It’s a heavy track that focuses on the core riff. This is unlike Nothing Really Ends. While the track makes use of melody and groove riffs it’s a much softer track, more comparable to classic Symphonic metal bands. It’s here we really start to see just how strong Greta Antico’s vocals are. In many cases, a band’s debut album can reveal weaknesses in their musical ability, particularly when it comes to vocals. But this isn’t true here.
The album slows down with the instrumental track, Rebirth, which like most instrumental tracks is more progressive than the other tracks on the record. Rebirth then quickly gives way to Your Name which in my opinion is one of the strongest tracks on the record. It’s got a solid structure and an enticing melody that carries the track. The beauty and the beast vocals are more present than ever here, adding a nice contrast to the softness of the main melody. The finale, Bleeding Machine takes a leap out of alternative metal’s book with a killer riff and grungy elements that fill the track with attitude. As is in keeping with the rest of the tracks, however, a gothic feel remains present over the entire record. The Call ends by treating fans with a remastered rendition of Dead Star which is an interesting look into the band’s earlier days.
Fundamentally, HELLFOX are one of those bands that hold a lot of promise and could have a successful career if they continue to home in on the song-writing ability. The one element of the record that lets the band down, however, is the production. Crystal clear production is incredibly important if you’re going to bring in synthesisers which the band does frequently but it’s here where you can tell the band is still new to this. As a first record, however, they’ve clearly put a lot of love into the song-writing and this overshadows any production issues that they’ve been victim to. Because of the eclectic mix of styles, The Call can be enjoyed by just about anyone who loves metal but they will really appeal to those that love the darker, melodic side of metal.
Words: Megan Taylor
The Call will be out on 22nd January 2022 via Music For The Masses.