Postcards from the Asylum

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After 1987's Screams in the Night, Hellion leader Ann Boleyn parted company with guitarist Chet Thompson, bassist Alex Campbell, and drummer Greg Pecka. Their next release, the 1988 EP Postcards From the Asylum, found Boleyn leading a five-person lineup that included two guitarists (Ray Schenck and returning original member Alan Barlam) as well as drummer Sean Kelley (another original member who returned to the fold) and bassist Dave Dutton. Boleyn's chemistry with Thompson, Campbell, and Pecka wasn't terribly strong, which is why Screams in the Night was merely decent instead of excellent. This album, however, is a gem. They have never sounded more focused and inspired than on "The Evil One," "Nevermore!," "Run for Your Life," and a passionate cover of Judas Priest's "Exciter." It all comes down to chemistry -- while Boleyn and Thompson didn't see eye to eye, she is very much in sync with Schenck, Barlam, Kelley, and Dutton on this blistering yet melodic release. It's too bad that Postcards is only a four-song EP; this Hellion lineup is so captivating that the listener wishes the record were longer.