A while ago, Hades decided to get back together. In 1995 they released "Exist to Resist", and in 1998 the result was the pretty good "$avior $elf". Barely a year later, Hades strike back with their next post-reunion album, "The Downside".

"The Downside" starts off promising with "Ground Zero N.Y.C." and "Align the Planets", both songs with good drumming (though the snare could have sounded better) and Alan Tecchio singing like he's damn well never sung before. The guy's got amazing power - he could carry Hades onto a different plane of excellence all by himself if he had to. The album continues with a host of other good songs, varying from thrash tracks to more straightforward old-style speed metal to heavy-sounding riff-fests. Further highlights are the short "Pay the Price" (Dave Lescinsky pulling off a convincing grunt) and "Ground Zero (Reprise)" (with Billy "S.O.D." Milano on backing vocals).

So far, Hades show no sign of a creative dip and they don't sound dated despite their relatively ancient roots (in 1984 they first appeared on "Metal Massacre VI", I'll have you know). On the downside (pun not intended, not really anyway), the album contains two rather superfluous ballads, the weak "It's a Wonderful Lie" and the marginally better "The Me That Might Have Been". But these two tracks fail at making "The Downside" a bad album.

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Written January 2000


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