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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

REVIEW: Halloween (US) - Don't Metal With Evil (1984)

Halloween was formed in United States at 1984 and play quite in-your-face heavy metal. Their themes often were about Halloween and horror specific. The band released their debut at the year of their creation – 1984 – called Don’t Metal With Evil. After this they released one live called Live From The Crypt and several demos.. they recorded their second full-length at 1986 called Victims Of The Night – but they didn’t have nor did get record deal at the time so record faded into “unreleased material” category for a decade. At 1997 however Victims Of The Night saw the light as it was finally released by Molten Metal Label and later on also reissued at 2002 and 2010 (with bonus tracks).

Halloween’s sound is kind of a funny, because it manages to be same time energetic, insane and “lazy” in cool way. Guitars are quite straight forward and vicious while vocals of Brian Thomas are wailing (bit whiny also – not in a bad meaning though this time) and haunting – clean mid range with occasional high screams. Very cool and totally 80’s. There’s certain wickedness in their melodies and lyrics although they are not totally evil or satanic. The songs make you kinda sense the insanity/madness but are still definitely headbangable for not being overly complex or anything.

Melodies in the album are mostly played in “minor” and slightly depressive – with few “neutral” moments but not much happy melodies. Halloween plays quite melodic heavy metal in a “minor” scale here. Compared to something like Accept for instance, Accept tends to play straight forward quite rhythm guitar based heavy metal with occasional great solos and melodies thrown in – while Halloween, being also quite straight forward, bases their hooks to shredding and melody parts and focuses a bit less to rhythm guitars. However melodies and solos are still quite easy side in complexity, there’s just quite plenty of shredding to be found here. Those parts sound often quite improvised - yet they work very well.

Don’t Metal With Evil is energetic piece of melodic horror heavy metal – with traditional 80’s US heavy metal having a touch of insane and haunting melodies. There’s plenty of good numbers: Album opens with with blasting speedy Busted with strong rhythm riffs dominating the song. There’s also some humor to be sensed in the lyrics:

“You, got caught, with your panties down
Tried to tell, your dad, you weren´t foolin´ around
He´s, no fool (yes he knows) where you´ve been
Yes, he caught you one, he just caught you again”

The high pitched wailing screams sound here quite insane and improvised. It’s just good for the atmosphere and makes it sound quite wild! Definetely one of the highlights here. More straight forward blasting and riffage is to be found in Trick Or Treat with a similar approach. These two are definitely speediest, most energetic moments of the album. To Fight The Beast is also speedy but cannot hold up to the two previous songs. Justice For All is is half acoustic depressive and anxious rocker which is good on its own right. Bit more groovy mid paced greatness is to be found in Scared To Death and The Wicked Witch with good support from the bassist. Title track Don’t Metal With Evil is one of the better tracks along the speediest ones. It’s mid fast madness with haunting base melody, pounding basslines and shout-along chorus.

Vocals are probably the barrier for many to either dislike/like this band. Personally I like them and feel they fit well to the music but I can see they’re not for everyone. Riffs here might be a slightly generic at times but energy of the band makes up for slight repetitiveness and complexity. Innovation on this album is the overall sound which succeeds to mix traditional heavy metal to haunting and horror themes – as much musically as lyrically – with certain sense of humor and cheesiness that is actually quite cool on this album. The improvised sounding high wailing vocals and guitar shreds seem to fit the music well and just adding certain “insane” and “wicked” vibe to the music. Overall this album is strong - only few songs of the latter ones don't live up to the A-side - which is the reason im going to rate this more to 80+ than less. Good traditional in-your-face heavy metal album with fair amount of melody – making exception to the rule – with more evil and “minor” scale approach to the music than many other traditional heavy metal bands tend to use.

Borderline "minor classic" - 80/100 (Great)

  • George Neal - Bass
  • Brian Thomas - Vocals
  • Billy Whyte - Drums
  • Rick Craig - Guitars

  • 1. Busted 03:11
  • 2. Scared to Death 02:37
  • 3. Justice for All 03:08
  • 4. Trick or Treat 03:11
  • 5. The Wicked Witch 02:52
  • 6. Don't Metal with Evil 03:02
  • 7. What a Nice Place 02:59
  • 8. Haunted 03:51
  • 9. She's a Teazer 03:52
  • 10. Tales from the Crypt 03:19
  • 11. Fight the Beast 03:30
    • Total Running time 35:32

(One of the more speedy moments in the album)

For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction . my bet is you can double them up)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – MCM
Type – LP/US/85
Near Mint – $95
Very Good+ - $50

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