With 1980’s heavy-metal chic currently having a moment in the sun thanks to a certain Netflix TV series, the summer of 2022 seems like the perfect time for San Francisco Speed Metal revivalists Hellfire to return with ‘Reckoning’, their 4th full-length outing and first release since 2019’s ‘Mania’. ‘Reckoning’ sees Hellfire firing on all cylinders and delivering a 1980’s heavy metal highlight reel across its 11 tracks and 45 minutes. Duelling guitar lines soar and immediately recall peak Iron Maiden, while Jake Nunn’s falsetto howls remind one a particularly irate and slightly punkier Ronnie James Dio.
Having spent a bit longer in the oven from their previous efforts, ‘Reckoning’ benefits from a sharper focus in song writing from 2019’s ‘Mania’ as well as tighter and punchier production from Chris Dugan. The addition of bass veteran Matt Freeman (Rancid / Operation Ivy) also helps add a bit of a polish and punch to the low end, even adding a few moments of his signature flair to the arrangements (keen eared listeners will also notice his Rancid cohort Lars Frederiksen lending his vocal talents to several tracks).
Musically, 'Reckoning' features some of catchiest and heaviest offerings the band have put out to date, with a van-full of razor-sharp riffs. Ranging from the cinematic “Tortuga Nights” to the all-out-crossover-thrash-assault of “Addicted to Violence”. Every track on this album unapologetically embraces the hallmarks of the decade without ever sailing into the safe harbour of nostalgic trope box-ticking or tongue-in-cheek parody.
With ‘Reckoning’ Hellfire have found their stride and may just have created their own "definitive" album. Contemporary yet quintessentially Hesher-friendly, grab your denim, grab some drinks, turn it up and join the club.