Hallows Eve - Tales of Terror (Metal Blade) 1984
1."Plunging to Megadeath"
Over the top, 1980's early thrash metal mixing in equal parts Exciter, Raven and 'Kill 'Em All'. Lots of speed, loads of adrenaline, shock and horror filled lyrics, manic guitar solos that are never worried about being in key, and an attitude that has been lost ever since those early days of an exploding metal scene in the early '80s. Decent recording for 1984 Nick Jameson from Foghat behind the board, but typically bad early 80's Metal Blade cover art. Found this CD re-issue used for $4.99.\
Hallows Eve - Death and Insanity (Metal Blade) 1988
1. "Death and Insanity"
A classic speed/thrash metal album, albeit one with rather silly lyrics focusing on horror, death, burning in hell and other such themes to shock their listeners. Tales from the Crypt put to music. I was driving one day, listening to this CD and I began to laugh as I couldn't even keep count of the amount of times I heard the word 'death.' Pretty funny. Still, the music and vocal melodies are infectious; either that or I just played this darn thing so much when I was a teen that it's permanently engraved in my head. Seriously though, some of the guitar riffs and grooves on this disc are catchy and the overall sound is really heavy.
A tidbit of trivia: The movie Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton as the tenant from hell featured the song "Lethal Tendencies."
Hallows Eve - Monument (Metal Blade) 1988
1. "Speed Freak"
I became an instant fan of Hallows Eve after I bought "Death & Insanity" as a new release. I must confess when I purchased this record a year later I was disappointed. Looking back, I really don't know why because "Monument" is a prime slab of speed metal. Contained herein are those signature grooves, mosh beats and gang vocals that Hallows Eve are known for. The CD starts off with a fine thrash number titled "Speed Freak". Track number two took me some time to get use to. This Queen cover is actually pretty fun, and a bit funny here as well. "Sheeeeer Heart Attack...If feel so inar-inar-inar-inar-inar-ticulate!" I don't know why, but hearing Freddy Mercury sing this line was natural, but hearing Stacy Anderson belch the lyrics out in his thrash/punk hybrid vocal style struck me as funny. I do dig the mosh part they added to the middle of the song. "Rot Gut" is prime Hallows Eve, with those mid-paced, heavy, headbanging grooves. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the CD. Likewise, the title track is another prime slab of mid-paced groove. "Pain Killer" picks up the pace and is probably one of the band's fastest songs. Overall, the entire CD is actually an enjoyable listen. I still can't figure out exactly why I was so disappointed with it in 1988. Perhaps "Death and Insanity" was just such a solid slab of metal that nothing else the band put out could match up to it. However, as I said, I now love this disc and tend to pull it out almost as much as "Death and Insanity".
Hallows Eve - Evil Never Dies (independent) 2005
Imagine my surprise when doing a search for Hallows Eve on the internet when discovered that not only was this band together, but had just released a new CD. Right on! I thought they had long disappeared. "Death and Insanity" has long been a favorite of mine and is considered a speed metal classic by many. "Evil Never Dies" doesn't stray far from what you might expect from one of the pioneers of speed metal and thrash. "Soldier" starts things off on a fast and furious pace that doesn't really let up for the entirety of the CD. However, Hallows Eve do explore some new ground for them, adding in some more extreme vocal styles and some death metal growls to spice up the songs a bit. There is even the occasional blast beat spattered in songs like "Looking Glass". "Vampires Drink Deep" almost sounds like old Slayer with a death metal vocalist. The only real let down here is that the production isn't top notch. Overall the mix is a little thin, although you can certainly hear all the instruments fine. However, I would have prefered a slightly beefier snare drums sound and thicker guitar tones. Certainly this doesn't ruin the overall listening experience of the CD unless you happen to be an anal audiophile who can only enjoy CDs if they have perfect, stellar production.
Hallows Eve - History of Terror (Metal Blade) 2006
Wow! This is quite the box set. "History of Terror" contains all three albums that Hallows Eve released on Metal Blade in the 80's, as well as enough bonus material to entice any fan. Shoot, I already owned all three of these CDs, but had to have this box set as well. For one thing, the mastering is worth the price of admission alone. The boost in sound quality is very noticable when compared to the original releases. "Tales of Terror" seems to be the most helped by the mastering as it has a whole lot more bottom end than I remember the original having. However all three albums have been given a healthy boost in levels. The biggest reason to own this, however, is all the bonus material. The sound quality on some of this stuff is far from great, as all of it is either taken from live performances or rehersals. Still, to a die-hard, this stuff is a fantastic look into what made this band tick. Covers of Exciter, Warrior, AC/DC and Alice Cooper prove that they came from the same background as the rest of us long haired, patch-clad, denim vest-wearing, metalheads in the 80's. One small bit of trivia about the Warrior cover, which was pointed out to me by Tommy Stewart. "Metal Prisoners" was written by Hallows Eve's Tommy Stewart and Stacy Anderson when they were in Warrior.
Discs 3 and 4 are titled "Live Terror". Disc 3 contains audio from several live shows. The sound quality here isn't perfect, and is actually closer to bootleg quality, but is still an interesting listen once or twice. I can't imagine anyone would want listen to this over and over again. Disc 4 is video footage of the band live. This is actually a slightly more interesting disc as the sound quality isn't as much of an issue with the video footage. Once again, this isn't professionally recorded material however, it does give a nostalgic look at the band and an era when thrash reigned supreme. I think I might have even been at the 12/19/86 Brooklyn, NY show with Anthrax opening.
The two booklets contained include tons of photos of the band as well as show flyers, promo sheets, demo covers, album covers, etc and also includes all the lyrics as well as a biography. The entire collection is wrapped up in a slipcase.
1. "Night Of The Neverending
Unfortunately the recording and production of "The Neverending Sleep" leaves much to be desired. It is thrash metal, so I suppose that perfect production is not the point. Perhaps the band was going for a "classic" sound. However, the recording is muddy and the guitars tone has that static sound in it that makes you wonder if your speakers are blown. The worse part is, the more you crank it up, the worse it gets.
Despite the dodgy production, I'm still enjoying this disc. Personally I find this CD to be better than "Evil Never Dies", which I also liked, bIt I also don't think the band has been able to surpass their classic albums. Of course, nostalgia plays a big part in this as well. No matter how good a band's newer material is, sometimes nostalgia makes us remember older albums as being better than they actually were.