The Big H: Hellanbach Anthology

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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia

Hellanbach has gone down in rock history as England's half-assed response to the glory of classic Van Halen, and this double-disc career anthology (collecting two full albums, one EP, and assorted extras) honestly does little to refute this rather unfortunate assertion. In its defense, however, Hellanbach was, like many New Wave of British Heavy Metal hopefuls signed to the Neat Records roster, poorly managed, severely under-produced, and generally left to fend for itself in terms of career guidance once the albums were shipped off the production line. With that in mind, one can better appreciate the Tyneside quartet's humble but enthusiastic forays into California-bred "raaawk and roooooollll" (to quote David Lee Roth); and, for his part, guitarist Dave Patton came as close as the next guy to nailing the famed Eddie van Halen "brown sound." Even if his efforts turned out somewhat orange by comparison, one can't ignore his impressive technical gifts, which lend sporadic winners like "All the Way," "Look at Me," "All Systems Go," and "Nobody's Fool" the necessary spark to spread some smiles to Van Halen fans out there, if nothing else. Still, The Big H: The Hellanbach Anthology is undoubtedly the stuff of diehard N.W.O.B.H.M. collectors, and anyone with lesser convictions (and a weaker stomach) is advised to approach with caution.

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