HITTEN are no stranger to the ripen retro metal scene. They have been active for almost ten years now, providing us with decent, though mundane albums. And since I try to keep an eye to the retro scene from its birth (being an infant of the underground scene myself) I have always been curious how all these bands evolve. Will they repeat the mistakes their 80’s ancestors made or not? Anyway here it is, HITTEN‘s new album and apparently the first big step towards maturity.
When the first notes of “Take It All” crank, it is noticeable that the band has made a lot of steps towards the American mid 80’s sound. Both harmonies, melodies and vocals are reminiscent of the glory days of DOKKEN, late MSG, early RATT, SHOK PARIS, LEATHERWOLF, CRIMSON GLORY etc., which means catchy songs with memorable choruses, twin guitars, emotional melodies and a distant coquetry with Power Metal. The production and the overall sound of the album are quite nice, clean, loud and crispy and the cover art is also great, very much into 80’s but with a modern vibe. So everything right huh?
Not quite so….
Even though the album is good, it is not good enough to make the difference. Songwriting is predictable to the point that it gets boring, as every singe good moment has been already played by someone else before, a problem noticeable to all retro bands to be fair. And even if we shrug it off, there is another problem: the vocals are not as powerful as it’s demanded for the occasion. The accent is great, but at some point the performance becomes too dramatic as it seems that mister Panza is overacting.
To sum up i’d say that the album is more than decent: HITTEN seem to have polished their sound and moved away from the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound of their first albums. Ι don’t know if it is done deliberately, but I am obliged to remind you that almost all early 80’s bands at some point did that… and it rarely worked.