Friday, May 29, 2015

Blizzard Hunter-Heavy Metal to the Vein

Pure Underground Records

"Heavy Metal to the Vein" is the long-awaited full-length debut from Peruvian speed metal/traditional heavy metal act Blizzard Hunter. A lethal combination of older tracks and new numbers, "Heavy Metal to the Vein" features ten tracks in all and has a run-time that is just short of the fifty minute mark! It's scheduled for release on June 19th and I'm calling it now. I've got dibs on "Heavy Metal to the Vein". This is one of 2015's BEST albums and if there is any kind of justice in the world at all (or at least in heavy metal circles) then it is going to end up sitting atop of many Year End Best Of Lists! Now, long-time readers will be familiar with the name, but for everyone else perhaps a brief overview is in order. First formed in 2006 by lead guitarist Lucho Sanchez (ex-Disinter, ex-Necropsya, ex-Bleed of Hate) and initial going by the name of Blizzard (with the Hunter part added on a later date due to some trademark issues), Blizzard Hunter began life as a Ozzy Osbourne tribute band. Inspired by Ozzy's solo album "Blizzard Of Oz", Lucho Sanchez and his fellow band-mates moved from covering only Ozzy Osbourne to playing songs from Iron Maiden, Metallica, Kiss, Judas Priest, and Megadeth. Other than Kiss (with an exception being made for numbers like "God of Thunder" and "I Love it Loud") those early cover choices offer excellent starting points on the map when we go about examining Blizzard Hunter's metallic sound. With these guys you'll hear some Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well as some Metallica and Megadeth. And the whole Ozzy thing? Well, dig deep down under all of the aggression and speed and you're likely to find some Black Sabbath heaviness as well as love and admiration for Ozzy's early solo years! All of which is rather wicked when you think about it. Seeing as this band's whiplash approach to heavy metal hides a reasonably darker underbelly it's just like hitting your favorite bottles of beer & win (or in my case hard cider!) and having the early flavors give way to rich and rewarding aftertaste! It's a two for the price of one hit of heavy metal! But that's the end of this band's "story" and we still need to cover parts of the beginning. So anyway, it wasn't long before the band made the inevitable leap from performing covers to writing original material and this album here shows just how far this Lima-based band has come! My first introduction to this incredible heavy metal/speed metal band came in August of 2014 in the form of  "Conqueror of Destiny" and after reviewing the group's first EP I was hooked! When it was released on cassette tape with a limited run of only 100 copies I pretty much knocked over anyone and everyone in my way in order to snag a copy for my personal collection! The three tracks on that EP ("I'm On My Way", "Ghost Rider", and "The Joke") ended up here on "Heavy Metal to the Vein" and back in late January of this year I actually covered the album's blazing title cut! That should bring us all up to speed so let's jump right into the heavy metal fire that is Blizzard Hunter's debut album! As far as the album's line-up is concerned it goes a little something like this. In addition to the insane lead work of guitarist Lucho Sanchez, "Heavy Metal to the Veins" features Sebastian "Dragon" Palma on vocals, Toño "Wild Rocker" Rojas on guitars, and Lalo "Indú" Salas on bass. For the drum parts Blizzard Hunter called in former member
 Juan Miguel Leon. His session work is simply fantastic and there is a nice bit of chemistry going on between him and bassist Lalo "Indú" Salas. There's also a great of chemistry when it comes to Blizzard Hunter's guitarists. Toño "Wild Rocker" Rojas and Lucho Sanchez (ex-Disinter, ex-Necropsya, ex-Bleed of Hate) share solos on Blizzard Hunter's first album and more often then not the pair pull of the ultimate tribute to Glenn Tipton & K. K. Downing! As far as the mic work of lead singer Sebastian "Dragon" Palma (Lightning, ex-Morvidhen) is concerned it has never sounded better! In days of old I talked about this front-man's (all-out addicting) youthful energy and no matter what the band throws at him the answer is always the same! Just as he does in life, Sebastian "Dragon" Palma grabs it by the balls and takes charge like the bad ass he is! For a younger man he certainly has a mature voice and with his band-mates all but doing the same thing this high-pitched singer pays tribute to the good old days of metal! To be more specific we're talking about 80's metal and the whole N.W.O.B.H.M. scene along with influences that run the gamut from Motörhead to Dio! You'll pick up other cues on "Heavy Metal to the Vein" like Raven, Grim Reaper, Helloween, Savatage, and even (early) Slayer! Unlike a hundred plus other bands, Blizzard Hunter stands out because they take those various influences and then build their own weapon of mass destruction! As it stands now the band Blizzard Hunter is all about paying homage, but doing it in a way in which they are securing their own distinct place in hall's of heavy metal! The upcoming "Heavy Metal to the Vein" starts things off with a brief spoken word intro before making a B-line straight to your jugular with "Conqueror of Destiny". Wow! Did anyone get the number of that bus that just flattened me? Heavy to the max, "Conqueror of Destiny" is epic metal the way it should be played and if there is a better way to go right into a heavy metal fan's heart then I don't know what it is! On new cut "Heart Of Fire (Vampire Hunter's Song)" you'll find Blizzard Hunter thrashing about in a mixture of Raven, Iron Maiden, Grim Reaper and King Diamond and man is it ever something to behold! These Peruvian metal maniacs make you want to stand up tall and proud with "Nemesis (Feel My Strength)" and fellow new number "The Murder". The former is a tried and true heavy metal ripper while the latter sees the band delve into doom while keeping one foot firmly planted in the realm of N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired speed! "The Murder" is also blessed with some stellar heavy rock guitar work and it's these little finishing touches that make this album so special. "My Revenge" and album closer, "The Final Judgement", are the other two new cuts and they are both on the "heavier" side of things. "My Revenge" has a mid-section guitar solo that should make Slayer fans scream with joy ends while "The Final Judgement" just whips riffs at you from all directions! As for the tracks which appeared on the band's "Conqueror Of Destiny" EP? Those three cuts go all the way back to 2011 (if not sooner!), but even so they feel right at home here on the band's debut. Obviously they are re-recorded versions, but "I'm On My Way" (track number two), "Ghost Rider" (track six) and "The Joke"(track nine ) still kick serious ass! Scratch that, "I'm On My Way" and the other two re-recorded numbers sound better than ever and when wedged in tight on this album they help make "Heavy Metal to the Vein" the superb work of art that it is! With the new album all wrapped up and waiting to drop the band Blizzard Hunter has managed to grab itself a nice twofer. Now only is this one of 2015's best heavy metal releases (and one that I'm dying to get my hands on as far as official CD copies go!), "Heavy Metal to the Vein" also holds the distinction of being one of the GREATEST debut albums in all heavy/speed metal! Big words I know, but this is a BIG heavy metal album that is filled up with BIG heavy metal moments! For fans of the band this one will be a no-brainer. Just pick it up and live in the moment! For new fans this will be a chance to hear old school-infused heavy metal/speed metal of the highest quality from a band that lives and loves metal as much as the rest of us! Not only that, but you will end up adding one new album to your collection that will end up being a timeless classic in years to come! Let's all hope that mid-June gets here before we know it!

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