4 out of 5 Stars!
From Toronto came Hellfield, an obscure group led by vocalist Mitch Hellfield (with a surname like that, how could the man NOT form a rock ‘n’ roll band, right?).
Anyway, when this album first came out in ’78, I purchased it immediately based on the cover art (and band name), unsure of the type of music being delivered. Turns out the album was chock-full of both kick-ass rockers and strong Pomp Rock laced with grand harmonies and some AOR melodies. In many respects, the band had a Midwestern sound, often reminding me of groups from this area of the USA such as Roadmaster, Trillion, and Styx, with touches of Angel, thanks to the Pomp keyboards.
The album opens with a magnificent track entitled “The Pact,” which leads into “Magic Mistress,” another standout tune, both with catchy choruses, rich harmony vocals, and tons of blazing guitar and keyboards, acting as a one-two punch to the jaw that hooked me on the album during my initial hearing. Side B also opens with “Tell Me Are You Listening,” another killer track with some Supertramp-ish influences and further solidified my fondness for this release.
Before eventually disbanding, Hellfield dropped a second album (Night Music) the following year, but the band just couldn’t seem to gain any foothold in the U.S., probably due to CBS Records doing zero promotion. Indeed, were it not for me engaging in my “weekly browse” at my neighborhood record store, I would likely have never discovered the band myself.
Anyway, I’m glad I did since this debut album still has a special place in my heart even after all these many decades.