What's that old adage? Wrong place, wrong time. For England's Hunted, you might want to subsitute wrong music for wrong place. It's a sad tale told too many times in the early Nineties. From underground NWoBHM band Stormtrooper, guitarist Bob Starling started Hunted* in 1992 with a crew of musicians faithful to classic melodic hard rock and heavy metal. It was a great plan, except for one large detail. They were doing it during that certain Northwest American phenomena. Yup. Grunge.
The thing is, in 1993 Hunted had some national and local success, recording their first EP, winning Radio 1's Rock Wars, and then gathering a significant fan base thanks to live appearances. The next year they got some interest from RCA records. But that got torched as unmarketable, and the band went down in flames. Crash and burn as it were.
So now, some 20 years later, the fine folks over at Bristol Archive Records has gathered the extant recordings of Hunted. Always looking for unsung rock and metal heroes, the label offers Fallen Angel (The Collection). Musically, it's exactly as pitched: classic Eighties melodic hard rock sharpened with that NWoBHM edge. The songs are filled with melody, twin guitar and vocal harmony, groove, catchy hooks and refrains in the arrangements, and rippin' guitar solos. Andy Milsom has a classic singing voice, pure rock with a smooth, melodic, yet determined, style. The production across all the songs is crisp and clean, giving every element clarity, notable in the definition of the bass lines. In other words, it's everything you love about classic hard rock whatever the decade.
Moving on to the songs, it's a collection of 15 studio recordings with some variety. Hitting some highlights, you have some metal-edged rockers with Strangers, Judgement, and Streets Of Fire. With Wish U Wuz Dead, and delivered with some tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, you get some of the macho misogyny prominent back in the day. At least that's what you're lead to believe. But it's the gal in the song who wants her guy dead (and out of her head). Then there's Victim, a heavy thumping song that has an obvious stripped down punk sound. Another favorite is Swing Of The Pendulum, which has this Middle Eastern feeling in the guitar line. It's a fast-paced number with lots of groove, a great vocal arrangement, and abundance of glimmering guitar lines. Surprisingly, or maybe not, there are no ballads to be found in the collection.
It's pretty much safe to say that, from songwriting to musicianship to production, Hunted was an immensely talented band with great ideas for some really good music. But the music industry is fickle loveless whore, moving by the next big that's the next big profit. As I said wrong music, wrong time. Yet, fans of the classic hard rock genre get the last laugh with Hunted's Fallen Angel (The Collection). Easily recommended.
*Not to be confused with the currently active progressive power metal band of the same name and also from England.
Listening to Fallen Angel (The Collection), it's pretty much safe to say that, from songwriting to musicianship to production, Hunted was an immensely talented band with great ideas for some really good music. Easily recommended.
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