Hellhound were one of the early speed metal/thrash bands to come out of California USA, forming in 1981. The band originally called themselves Black Death, changing their name to Hellhound after a song by the same name was penned by bassist Rich Pelletier. Much like another young California band called Metallica, Hellhound were heavily inspired by the NWOBHM scene and incorporated much of that sound into their sound. They had a cult following in Europe just from their demo recordings. Unfortunately the band split-up before being offered the opportunity to record for a proper label. Several members from Hellhound went on to form Rapid Fire.

Rise to Offend Hellhound - Anthology (Stormspell Records) 2008 

1. "Ice Age" (7:11)
2. "Flee the Bomb" (2:59)
3. "Killing Spree" (5:39)
4. "Suffer the Innocent" (3:37)
5. "The Usurper" [instrumental] (4:07)
6. "Repression of Life" (5:31)
7. "From the Ruins of Yesterday" (6:32)
8. "Hammerslag" [instrumental] (7:20)
9. "The Asylum" (8:08)
10. "HellHound" (3:53)

1. Interview
2. "HellHound"
3. "Suffer the Innocent"
4. "The Asylum"
5. "From the Ruins of Yesterday"
6. "Repression of Life"
7. "Beyond Time & Space"
8. "Suffer the Innocent /Take 2"
9. "Survival of the Fittest"

Hellhound were a thrash metal band from the U.S., formed already in 1981 along with the thrash metal pioneers Slayer and Metallica. Unfortunately the band didn't get beyond recording demo tapes, despite some label interest at the end of their existence. Those demo tapes have been unavailable for a long time. Fortunately Stormspell Records hooked up with the band and re-released their demos in this 2-disc collection. Strormspell puts out a quality product, everything from the mastering to the packaging is top notch. The 16-page booklet contains lyrics, vintage photos of the band, classic flyers and a band biography by band founder Rich Pelletier. The songs contained herein are from those demos. Tracks 1 - 6 were recorded in 1985, tracks 7 - 10 were recorded in 1986. All tracks have since been remastered. 

The music is early California thrash metal, combining a heavy NWOBHM influence and some classic 70's heavy metal influences. Thrash metal today is defined by more manic sounds like Kreator, Sodom and Slayer. Hellhound's sound is more melodic and would probably be more accurately labeled speed metal. There are some similarities to other thrash pioneers such as Metallica and Exodus, but Hellhound's sound is a bit more melodic than either band's early demos. Comparisons to Attacker, Death Angel and early Deliverance wouldn't be too far off. For the most parts the songs are fast to mid-paced, and contain all the usual thrash ingredients; chugging guitar riffs, fast guitar solos, and a tight rhythm section. Vocalist Mike Walish has an interesting voice which ranges from high pitched shrieks to more mid-rage, clean singing. At times his high shrieks reminds me of Tim Baker of Cirith Ungol fame and Flemming Ronsdorf of Artillery. Considering that all the material contained was recorded in the 80's and was demo recordings, the sound quality is quite good. 

It's a shame that Hellhound didn't get beyond recording demos. These demos showed a lot of promise. Who knows what would could have happened from here. Fortunately Stormspell saw fit to preserve this band's legacy and release these demos in this Anthology package. 

As an added bonus, there is a DVD included as well. The DVD features footage of the band being interviewed  back in the 80's on Rock Talk as well as some clips of the band performing live in a studio.

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