Behind the Demon’s Eyes
High Roller Records

TLDR: Old-school heavy metal & rock hybrid with strong vibes from 70’s and 80’s.

Review: Veteran act Manilla Road turns 40 this year. Through all these years Mark “The Shark” Shelton has been the man in the band playing the guitar and doing the singing. This hasn’t, however, stopped him getting lost in his very own side-projects, such as Hellwell. Behind the Demon’s Eyes is the band’s sophomore album and this time it features ex-Manilla Road drummer Randy “Thrasher” Foxe, too.

Hellwell’s debut album Beyond the Boundaries of Sin was describe as “Manilla Road with Deep Purple synths” and to some extent, it can be said about this one, too, I guess. Hellwell is surely old-school heavyrock stuff which uses those purplish keyboard ideas and puts them nicely together. But there are problems which aren’t solved by some nice synths or decent riffs, and there are too many of them with this one.

Mid- or even slow-tempo riffing goes hand in hand with Shelton’s somewhat whiny clean vocals and his not too shabby raspy parts. While the guitar riffs and synths are fine as they are, most of the songs are way too long. The get too repetitive after a while and this isn’t for the benefit of the songs or the general atmosphere of the album. On the contrary, Behind the Demon’s Eyes almost makes me want to sleep. It is really that boring at some points.

I admit I’m not the biggest fan of 70’s rock and heavy music, but I tend to like stuff from the 80’s, almost no matter what the (metal) genre. However, Hellwell ain’t doing too well in that area either and this seems like a missed opportunity in my eyes. This could have been something big. Too bad it isn’t. I guess this one can be labeled for “fans only”.

Track list:
1. Lightwave
2. Necromantio
3. To Serve Man
4. It’s Alive
5. The Galaxy Being
6. The Last Rites of Edward Hawthorn