Hades (US)

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If At First You Don't Succeed

Hades (US) - If At First You Don't Succeed ©1988 Torrid / Medusa
1. Opinionate!
2. In The Mean Time
3. Rebel Without A Brain
4. King In Exile
5. Face The Fat Reality
6. Outro
7. I Too Eye
8. Diplomatic Immunity
9. Process Of Assimilation
10. Tears Of Orpheus
11. Aftermath Of Betrayal
12. Finale

The US edition of Hades was one of those blips on the thrash radar screen that was momentarily noticeable and then vanished without a trace (well, until the late 90s). Their style of thrash was tinged with ambitious hues of progressive tendencies, but was mostly rooted in the sound of the late 80s. Featuring vocalist Alan Tecchio, who has received quite a bit of ribbing courtesy of this website and reviewer, Hades was at times quite interesting, but never quite followed through with their potential.

If At First You Don't Succeed, the band's second release, is a mildly ambitious effort that adds a touch more complexity than, say, Gang Green did at the time. In other words, the band loved to toss in some deft rhythm changes and refrained from sticking to the usual thrash formula of "acoustic guitar intro/thrash your brains out/double bass you to hell/shriek like a eunuch demon". The band has a strong sense of melody, but of course Alan Tecchio sticks to those upper registers with his voice. I would call him a Melody Murderer. The songwriting on this album does vary: "Process of Elimination" is the most aggressive song on the CD (although it morphs into a nifty cleaner section) while others like "King in Exile" are clunkier.

Overall, this is a decent second tier release. It wouldn't take much to do worse than this CD. If At First You Don't Succeed is also one of the better Hades releases in their discography.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2005

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Savior Self

Hades (US) - Savior Self ©1998 Metal Blade
1. Savior Self
2. Decline & Fall Of The American Empire
3. Our Father
4. Active Contrition
5. To Know One
6. In The Words Of The Profit
7. The Agnostic
8. Y2K
9. End Of The Bargain
10. Fall
11. The Atheist

A general rule of thumb to follow when buying new music is to avoid Alan Tecchio. Nothing personal against this guy--in fact, I'm sure he's a pretty great guy to hang out with--but his air raid intolerable vocals on Watchtower's 1989 Control and Resistance still give me the heebie-jeebies. And his contributions to Hades' 1988 If At First You Don't Succeed were only marginally better. So when I saw that Hades had reformed to record this album, I was, quite simply, terrified at the prospect of hearing his vocals again. But I am happy to report in the past decade, Mr. Tecchio has actually developed a strong and worthy voice. Moreover, Hades sounds better than ever on Savior Self. Whether it be the pulsing diatribe of "Decline & Fall of the American Empire" or the acoustic "Fall", Hades covers all the bases well. All the songs are well-crafted and avoid monotony. Though the album is short, it is completely solid throughout. Good to hear this group again and I'm very pleased to see they've matured greatly since the last time I heard them.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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The Downside

Hades (US) - The Downside ©1999 Metal Blade
1. Ground Zero NYC
2. Align The Planets
3. Bitter Suite #1
4. Hoax
5. Pay The Price
6. Hail To The Thief
7. Shove It
8. It's A Wonderful Lie
9. Become Dust
10. Responsible
11. The Me That Might Have Been
12. Ground Zero (reprise)

Hades are another one of those bands that for various and sundry reasons decided to return to the scene after a prolonged hiatus, in this case nearly ten years. Apparently, they hail from the vast, roach-infested sewage treatment plant across the river from me - New Jersey. New Jersey isn't exactly known as the world's power metal bastion, and Hades aren't doing a very good job advancing its position as one.

"Ground Zero NYC" begins nicely enough with an ominous Slayer-esque synth intro that is quickly harmonized by the rhythm guitars. The occasional barked vocals suggest a minor hardcore influence has found a place, although we are most often treated to Alan Tecchio's passable attempts at chirping like a canary. Whenever he tries to sing his lungs out, he ends up sounding hoarse, leading me to believe he's overextending the limits of his vocal capabilities. Or perhaps he really does want to capture that "fingernails on a chalkboard" atmosphere, much to our chagrin.

Minor digressions aside, the music is your predictable power metal fare, with decent to uninteresting songwriting throughout. If it weren't for the surprisingly fresh percussion section, The Downside would have already found a place in the nearest trash receptacle (and on its way back to New Jersey, no doubt). "Hoax" features some pretty spicy double-bass drumming, courtesy of Dave Lescinsky, who just may be the band's saving grace. "Pay the Price" is a march-like anthem, with some deep, growled vocals and a dash of that recognizable Slayer guitar sound. With "Hail to the Thief," Hades fall back once again to their bag of power metal tricks, indulging us with a nice melodic guitar solo. "It's a Wonderful Lie" and "The Me That Might Have Been" are your two requisite ballads, and The Downside caps it off with a shortened, hardcore-stylized reprise of "Ground Zero," this time featuring Billy Milano as guest vocalist.

Suffice to say, this album is really not worth your time or money.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 03/2000

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Hades (US) - Damnation ©2001 Metal Blade
1. Bloast
2. Out The Window
3. DamNation
4. Absorbed
5. Force Quit
6. Stressfest
7. Biocaust
8. This I Know
9. Momentary Clarity
10. California Song
11. Stop And Go
12. Bad Vibrations

Hades is nothing if not stubborn. They have been playing their brand of post-Judas Priest metal for many, many years, and even if they did get signed to Metal Blade, one must concede that the label does not have the same clout it had in the 1980s. But on they go, playing their little tattoed hearts out, with relative artistic success (within the confines of the style of music they play, that is).

If you view genre-sclerosis as a tragic affliction and favor envelope-pushing artists, Hades is not for you. But if you want politically-aware metal, this might just be the ticket. The singer is a semi-hysterical wide-range blend of classic Rob Halford and Nitro's Jim Gillette, and the music is modernized 80s metal of the Priest variety (as opposed to Twisted Sister, for instance). I suspect that the mere word "keyboard" would give these guys diaper rash, and accordingly the music is no-frills guitar, bass and drums with juicy distorted leads, meaty power chords, kicking double-kick, and hair. The atmosphere is very serious and politically charged, and the lyrics are above average in subtlety and wording. In fact, this is what Pantera might be today if they hadn't decided to lose the mascara back in the day.

This is very good Judas metal. The fans won't be disappointed, and the fact that my copy will never see the lens of my CD player again should in no way prevent them from buying it.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2001

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