Forgotten Gems: Madd Hunter-Madd Hunter
Madd Hunter is a two-man heavy metal project from Brockton, Massachusetts. This self-titled debut was released in 1997 and features Phil Grasso on vocals, guitar and bass alongside drummer Barry Spillberg. Steel Assassin fans should already know who Phil is. As the bass player for Steel Assassin he can be heard on the group's latest release "WW II: Metal of Honor" as well as the band's older releases. His bass playing is simply wicked and along with veteran drummer Barry Spillberg (Wargasm, Every Second, Meliah Rage, Triphammer) he put out this instantly likable heavy metal album seemingly as a tribute to all things old school. Influences like Steel Assassin are a given along with groups like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest (who were a huge influence to begin with for Steel Assassin), Jag Panzer, Helloween and Manowar. Phil Grasso sounds like British heavy metal singers of old and not only is his bass playing top-notch (a given) but his guitar work is as well. On "Modern Times" he showcases his love for the old NWOBHM sound. "Too Much Is Never Enough " and "Soldiers of Misfortune" owe a lot to not only NWOBHM but eighties metal in general. "The Scarecrow of Romney Mash" features a galloping pace and more love for heavy metal of old. "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" is one of the album's better cuts and for those of you who miss the days when heavy metal was more epic and sweeping it is a must hear. "Burn, Witch, Burn" starts off slow before picking up the pace and finishing strong like a race horse that pulls off that last second burst of speed. "Barabbas" is full of time changes and reminded me of "Killers" era Iron Maiden. "We Rule the Night" is simply old school headbanging fun as are tracks like "The Swarm" and "The Four Horsemen". "Babylon" is another great number as is the album's closing number the simply nasty track "Glorigoth". Like I said old school fans can't go wrong with cuts like the Iron Maiden like "Modern Times" or the Judas Priest like "Soldiers of Misfortune". Speaking of Judas Priest on the group's follow-up album ("Silence of the Lamb") they cover their track "Take on the World". Obviously Madd Hunter are influenced by the greats like Judas Priest. I have yet to hear their follow-up album though I do know that Chuck Fitzgerald of Osiris, Triphammer and Poseiden fame takes over on drums. "Silence of the Lamb" will be my next pick up and hopefully it sounds as retro as this album. I should warn you though if your not into older music and think NWOBHM acts sound dated then Madd Hunter will not appeal to you. Phil Grasso pulls from his dusty LP collection of NWOBHM and eighties metal for Madd Hunter and is not ashamed to wear the influences on his sleeves. Judging by his Dragon Slayer outfit in the picture above he loves the sounds of crusty old vinyl from the early eighties and Madd Hunter is his way of paying homage to a sorely missed era. Madd Hunter is all about letting go and letting loose.