ALIEN FORCE — Hell and High Water (review)

ALIEN FORCE — Hell and High Water album cover Album · 1985 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Time Signature
CoVinyl Part 5

I recently bought a copy of the High Roller Records reissue of this obscure metal release from the mid 80s. True to the High Roller ethos, the record came with some extra goodies in the form of a cool poster, a band photo, and a lyric sheet. The record itself came in yellow transparent vinyl. All very cool and tasty indeed.

But what about the music? Well, we are dealing with early 80s metal released in the mid 80s, and most of the songs stylistically falls somewhere between traditional heavy metal and hard rock, and I think that a fair comparison would be Judas Priest's "Point of Entry". As listeners, we are treated to some fairly solid riffage and some fairly melodic guitar solos along with the occasional twin guitar lead section. While most of the tracks on the album are pretty good metal tracks, I think that the ballad 'Fly Away' is perhaps just best forgotten; it comes across as a botched attempt at writing the next 'Strange World' (you know the Iron Maiden balled). 'Night of Glory' seems to be the band's attempt at a glam metal song and, well, it's not bad. Kudos to Alien Force for writing generally catchy and melodic songs such as 'Time Is Out' which is hard not to sing along to. The song structures are fairly traditional, but there are occassional elements of innovativity, and I would say that the instrumental sections are particularly enjoyable to me.

Peter Svale Andersen's singing style is more in the neighborhood of belting, but he delivers the melodies well and he is definitely a skilled, but not refined, singer. He does have a bit of a Danish accent, but I think most listeners are not going to notice it except if they are Danish themselves. Overall, the musicianship is solid. The production is not too bad either, but there is more smoothness and roundness to it than you might expect and that might be because the guitars are only mildly distorted (I bet they used a Boss Overdrive pedal when they recorded the album). I also like how audible the bass is throughout the entire album. The overall production is definitely easy on the ears.

The lyrics are very simplistic and it seems that they were written by someone who struggled to put their thoughts into words in a foreign language. That's of course forgivable, but it does mean that there are sections that come across a bit nonsensical. Another thing is that, if one takes a look at the lyrics sheet, one will see that there are grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in pretty much all of the songs. Again, this is rock 'n' roll and not an English class, but, grammar nazis be warned, this will drive you mad.

The cover artwork is very simple and has a comic book quality to it, but I actually really like that. The blue-black hooded figure really stands out against the yellow circle behind it which in turn stands out against the blue background. I also like how the black side of the figure seems even more ghostly than the blue side does. This might as well be the cover of a 80s Ghost Rider issue (the hooded figure could be the villain of the week or something).

Overall, this is not a masterpiece, but it is a very solid effort and should appeal to fans of 80s metal. If you find a fairly priced copy - maybe the High Roller version, maybe the original, maybe the Karthago version - it would be a shame not to pick it up.
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