Tyneside, England's Hellanbach were often touted as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's answer to Van Halen -- which they were, though not a very good answer at that. The band that would become Hellanbach started coming together towards the end of the 1970's, and a stable line-up eventually coalesced around Jimmy Brash (vocals), Dave Patton (guitar), Kev Charlton (bass) and Steve Walker (drums). Thanks in large part to their crowd-pleasing party attitude and upbeat hard rock tunes, constant gigging all over the Northeast of England made Hellanbach a popular attraction, and come 1980, they entered Guardian Studios in nearby Durham to record a four track E.P. Released by the studio's namesake independent label, Out to get You was a decidedly patchy affair, but nevertheless served to introduce the group's blatant worship of Van Halen to a wider audience. Hellanbach spent the ensuing two years demoing new material and refining their performing chops on the club circuit, leading up to a contract with Neat Records. After previewing a couple of new tracks, "All the Way" and "All Systems Go," in a set Neat compilations, Hellanbach set about recording their long awaited full-length debut, Now Hear This, which finally arrived in 1983. Although the Van Halen similarities were still very much in evidence throughout -- particularly in guitarist Dave Patton's flashy guitar work -- the quite impressive album proved that Hellanbach had made tremendous strides and were now far more inspired by, than dependent upon these influences. Extensive touring with the likes of Raven ensued and Now Hear This sold in respectable quantities to the heavy metal faithful. But Hellanbach wasted precious time preparing their second album, The Big H, which only hit the streets in late 1984. By then, the popularity of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in general was in serious decline, and the presence of new drummer Barry Hopper was about the only novelty on hand anyway, since The Big H merely re-hashed their debut's pre-established formula with less satisfying results. Clearly, the band's own diminishing belief in their cause was at the heart of the problem, and few were surprised when the members of Hellanbach quietly went their separate ways in the next few years, never to resurface.
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