August 11, 2022

Hell Fire is a great heavy/speed metal band from San Francisco, being active since 2010, with three full length albums already behind their backs. The two constant members Jake Nunn (vocals, guitars) and Tony Campos (guitars) are now in the company of drummer Mike Smith and bassist Kai Sun (also in Space Vacation). It should be mentioned that their new album Reckoning was recorded before Kai joined, with the help of Matt Freeman (of Rancid and Operation Ivy fame). The album is coming out tomorrow (August 12th), on RidingEasy Records and it looks like the guys have delivered their most mature and complete release so far.

The title track which starts the album is surely among the most epic and ambitious in their discography, packing in meaty riffs, great chorus and fantastic solos in just under 6 minutes. The style of Hell Fire has always been a tasteful mix of US-thrash and classic heavy metal, with equal doses of classic Metallica and early Maiden thrown in. I sometimes like to think of these guys as a thrashier and more varied Haunt (which is another great band from the same neighborhood). Medieval Cowboys and Tortuga Nights are more melodic and classic metal driven, with great lead guitars (just check the harmonies in these two tracks – total Maiden worship!), while Nowhere Fast and especially Addicted To Violence showcase the more punk and thrash influenced side of the album. It should be mentioned that the vocals of Jake Nunn are a very specific and recognizable feature of Hell Fire, sounding raw and angry, just like the music on display. The album ends even stronger than it began, with the surprisingly mellow ballad A Dying Moon (fantastic vocals by Jake) and the old school speed metal hammer The Executioner, which just slays with the best riffs so far.

It is easy to see and to confirm that Hell Fire have been both very ambitious and very inspired for Reckoning and the feeling of a crucial point reached in their career is overwhelming. While this is not a groundbreaking release or a metal milestone, Reckoning is a great metal album, played from the heart and it shows. It absolutely is among the better classic metal releases this year and this is the best time to give this band a chance and check them out.

8/10

Hell Fire in Facebook

You can order Reckoning from HERE