Sunday, January 08, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Hellraiser-Cut Yer Teeth On This


Hell Hound Productions
1995








Forgotten albums are one thing and then there are those albums that most people know nothing about. Such albums were usually private releases with at best regional exposure. Most likely these albums were one and done affairs by bands who scrapped together all of their resources just to lay something to tape. "Cut Yer Teeth On This" is an album even die hard heavy metal collectors have never heard of. Released in 1995 (a fateful year for me) this would prove to be the sole release for River Bend area Hellraiser. This Hellraiser should not be confused with the other Hellraiser bands featured in the Encyclopaedia Metallum. Given that they are not even listed at the otherwise pretty reliable Metal Archives says something about how underground the act was. This River Bend Hellraiser featured Jeff Street on lead vocals, Tom Ackman on lead guitar, Robert Thornton on rhythm Guitar, Brett Hall on bass guitar, and Rich Wilkinson on drums. I have Bett Hall to thank for my copy of the album otherwise the only way I would have heard this gem would be to hang out on Youtube. It really was only by accident that I stumbled across this Hellraiser. Youtube is like that where you follow one or two wrong turns and suddenly your hit by something totally unexpected! In this case it was the heavy metal thunder of "Cut Yer Teeth On This". Listening to the album a few times through I'm struck by how much these guys were a product of the mid- 90's metal scene. Well, maybe it would be better to say they had more in common with the various genre jumping bands of the 80s like Mox Nix. Genre jumping might sound like a crummy deal however let us get something straight. These five fellas were not jumping on the latest trend. Not in the least bit. Instead they dug into their influences and rode them straight to heavy metal heaven. Throwing in everything from Twisted Sister to Dio to Bay Area thrash (especially Metallica/Megadeth) here was a band that like Spartanburg's act Mainiax explored everything that made heavy metal great. The opening number "Will To Be" sounds like Megadeth taking Twisted Sister to a hole in the wall bar and getting stone cold drunk. The title cut sounds like a wicked mix of Ratt like sleaze and Motorhead style hard edge rock. "Confusion" has a mild case of 90's funk while "Passion To Rage" takes Judas Priest, Motley Crue and Dangerous Toys and beats them over the head with Heathen's thrash riffs! The whole album is like that where you hear all these different bands like Alice Cooper, Kiss, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath getting a cold beer raised in their direction along with super thick and crunchy riffs. Like Mox Nix this was a band that didn't care if people thought hard rock and thrash metal couldn't or shouldn't hang out together for a night of wild drinking and crazy antics. They were going to do it anyway and have fun along the way. While the band disbanded in 1996 like all good heavy metal acts they didn't stay dead. In the Fall of 2011 there was talks about a reunion so who knows what the future holds for Hellraiser.

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