It is without a doubt, that Hercules have leaped forward regarding their sound, even mentioning that in their most recent release "Back for Revenge
(The Radioward Mixes)", a revamped version of "Back for Revenge
", a richer mix is incorporated. Well, I really can't argue with that. First of all, it seems that the drums weren't written on Xpand2 unlike the previous albums, and they do sound more realistic, especially the drum kicks. Chris, the leader of the band even put some time to record the vocals and guitars again, which is obviously a good thing. Nevertheless, The entire concept is well thought and I'll explain why in the next paragraphs.
In "Radiowar Mixes", Chris' six-string "Tommy gun" is equipped with a much more wholesome tone, which to my experience can be emulated with the Bias FX plugin that a lot of professional musicians have utilized on their recordings in past five years. The guitar sounds like it was recorded and mastered on a big-budget studio, but in reality, I can assure you all this was done in a very small room. However, just like most of Hercules' records, the bass is mixed very low and as a result, it is very difficult to distinguish from the other instruments. In my opinion, this problem could be solved if Chris would tone down the reverb a little bit.
Referring to the music, the creative guitar riffs can be appreciated much more from the fans who appreciate big-budget music productions more. But even people who don't mind raw production like me might consider this album superior to the first version of "Back for Revenge
". The screams, growls, and haunting vocals are still there and make their presence much more compelling in Hercules' more sludgy songs such as "Babylon
The Great" and "Revenge
" (the latter is sung in Greek). The songs can range from complex epics such as "When The Night
fades To Black" to much more hardcore punk-influenced music, as one can listen from "Mighty Monster". Another thing I'd like to mention about the album, is the addition of keyboard segments, which are masterfully arranged by Chris, in order to channel a similar manifestation of Virgin
's Steele epic spirit without ripping them off.
My personal favorite songs on this album, are "Armageddon
" with its bizarre (in a good way) introduction combining both the harmonic minor and the Dorian scale, its epic chorus and decent guitar solo, and "When The Night
Fades To Black" which brings to my mind, a picture of an army on a stealthy operation to conquer a city while everyone else is sleeping there. Hercules also takes a much more experimental approach by releasing a symphonic arrangement of the song "Sacrifice
". It's a good rendition, though I'd rather stick to the original because the guitar is sort of buried in the "Group And
Orchestra" version due to the horns predominating the tune, regarding their volume.
Overall, "Back for Revenge
(The Radiowar Mixes)" is a release that I welcome, and I bet most people would if they dedicated 50 minutes of their life to take a listen to it. As I said earlier, this is Hercules' first album with high-quality production and a successful effort, even if the mixing is a bit rough. It is my firm belief though, that bands like Hercules who don't have the ability to record on much more expensive equipment, are those who always don't hesitate to thrill the audience and offer something new with each release, in comparison to a more famous band such as Metallica
who made two very similar albums (Those are "Death Magnetic" and "Hardwired...") and are criticized for recycling older songwriting patterns again and again the past twelve years.
"When The Night
Fades To Black"