HADES - "$AVOIR $ELF" (METAL BLADE)
The legend is back. Hades have returned. Well, to tell you the truth, I am quite unfamiliar with any of the 'highly acclaimed', semi-legendary Eastcoast speed metal efforts that Hades have produced in the mid eighties, but if the new album is anything to go by then they must have been OK to say the least.
Despite my innocence where Hades' earlier material is concerned, it is obvious that their new album is not a mere rehash of old tricks. "$avior $elf" sounds up-to-date in a way many reunited bands fail to attain. I hated Alan Tecchio's voice when he was in Watchtower, but here he doesn't scream too much and doesn't sing too high, so that's more than fine. The album has a crisp production with cool rhythm work by drummer Dave Lescinsky. Still, the album has highs as well as lows. Lows, for example, are the non-accompanied prayer "Our Father" (completely superfluous), the short instrumental "The Agnostic" ditty and acoustic "Fail" (which, unless my ears fool me, is sung out of key as well). Highs are "Decline and Fall of the American Empire", "To Know One" and "Y2K" - excellent stuff! The lows are, thankfully, mostly short. This means that the album as a whole definitely leaves a good impression.
Written December 1998
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