Hittman – “Destroy All Humans” (No Remorse Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Back in the 80s, Hittman were hotly touted to be following in the esteemed footsteps of bands like Queensrÿche, Savatage and Fifth Angel. Having opened concerts for Saxon, Poison, Black ‘n’ Blue and Stryper, singer Dirk Kennedy, who’d been in Anthrax, trained under Marty Lawrence (father of renowned teacher Don Lawrence (Gaga, Bono, Mick Jagger)), an operatic vocal coach so he could keep pace with tenor singers like Geoff Tate, Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson! Signed to Steamhammer, who they released their first 2 albums proved to be a mixed blessing that while making them popular in Europe, ironically led this Long Island band to become less connected to their home fans as their releases were only available on import. Despite the likes of Bob St John (Extreme, Duran Duran) producing their 1993 sophomore “Vivas Machina”, the writing was on the wall and following a final tour, Hittman broke up, although no official announcement was made. However, while never achieving mainstream success, the cult status of the band has grown over the last 25 years thanks to loyal followings in Germany, Greece and Japan, where after a sold-out performance at the Keep It True Festival in 2018 featuring the original line up, Hittman acquired the rights to all their releases. Still with the founding core of Kennedy and guitarists Jim Bacchi and John Kirsten, “Destroy All Humans” is the band’s 3rd album and very much seen to be a continuation of their debut, not in the least because it features 2 songs that were written before the release of that self-titled debut! Opening after a lengthy prog intro, the 7 1/2 minute title track ‘Destroy All Humans’ shows just what this band is all about as classic US metal heaviness, including double bass drumming, mixes oh so stylishly with epic melodies and Kennedy’s soaring but tender highs to create an exotic vibe that flows majestically, but is equally unafraid to fly into instant headbanging moments – awesome. Following that is the incredible ‘Breathe’, slow and sultry with its incredibly alluring main riff made even more potent through the wailing twin guitars of Bacchi and Kirsten, Greg Bier’s ballsy bass and contrasted spectacularly by Kennedy’s clean highs filling you with Hittman’s trademark of gutsy heaviness and undeniable melody all into one superb package! Awash with metallic melodies, the fastchugging riffs and Kennedy’s powering highs on ‘Total Amnesia’ makes for another instantly catchy headbang with a strong Euro-metal feel that is sure to hit home to the metal legions that stayed unfalteringly true to this band for over two and a half decades. Still with that winning streak, Hittman bring back all the glory days on this new studio release – their first one in 27 years!