Back In Hell is the debut solo album from Hamerex guitarist / vocalist Steve Blower featuring eleven tracks (approx. 53 minutes) of good old fashioned classic traditional metal. Initially beginning life as a six track min album titled Facilis Descenus Averno, it quickly evolved into a full length album with updated and improved recording equipment and time. Steve plays all of the instruments on this album as well as writing all of the songs and co-mixing the finished product with Andy Firth. But what does it sound like you ask?
The album opens with the title track, Back In Hell, with its instant classic metal riff and Iron Maiden / Judas Priest-esque like lead vocals., giving it a great traditional metal / nwobhm feel. Great start. The Whisperer follows, with its ever so slightly quicker pace, yet more melodic riffs. another great song. Whats Left Of Me is up next, with its speed metal leanings, and the strongest vocal delivery so far on the album. this song just grows and grows. Definitely one of the albums high lights, as is the next track, The Prophet. this track has a darker feel to it, but again it just grows and grows, with some great riff and a killer solo. Also once again a great vocal on this one. Next we have a trinity of instrumental tracks, the first being the Wasp-esque Arabian Nights (think the song War Cry!), then the early Iron Maiden esque Out Of This World, before the heavier The Midas Touch, which I have to say is my favourite of the three instrumentals. Twisted Evolution is up next, dark and atmospheric, with its heavy brooding guitar riffs. Another album highlight for me. The Slain / Ties That Bind opens with a sinister heartbeat and poignant riff. The vocals paint a very clear and explicit picture. This is a very visual track, almost alarmingly so. The track moves into faster and heavier territory with some Dickinson-esque vocals. A Brilliant track! The albums penultimate track is Haunting Misery, another traditional metal jaunt before The World Is Ablaze closes out the album, another strong track with a Judas Priest-esque feel to it.
Overall Back In Hell is a great strong solo effort that effectively showcases Steve’s un-doubted talents as both a writer and multi instrumentalist, but I would dare to say could have benefited from more of a band involvement, which I believe would have developed the songs even further.