Vixen – “Made In Hawaii” (No Remorse Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Continuing the series of re-issues from Marty Friedman’s early days comes Vixen. The band formed after he left Deuce on the mainland and journeyed to what most people might regard as paradise – although for Friedman it was stated to be living hell ha ha! To get his own back, he decided not to just continue his guitar driven music, but actually make it even more intense and extreme. Recruiting drummer Jeff Graves, who would remain with him in the awesome power metal trio Hawaii, Vixen would feature female vocalist Kim La Chance and bassist Kimo. Originally released in 1983 as a 5 track EP, this reissue now features 6 bonus tracks in the form of demos added. Fans of Hawaii will no doubt recognise songs like ‘Living In Sin’ although with changed lyrics (less metal, chains, spikes and leather!) and La Chance adds her own femme fatale charm that’s definitely smoother than wailing Gary St Pierre on the Hawaii version – along with a heavier version of ‘Secret Of The Stars’. Tracks like ‘Rocking Me Hard’ and ‘Beg For Mercy’ even at this early stage already show the power metal aspect from Graves’s double bass drumming to the speed of Friedman’s guitar occasionally going punk along with his neo classical penchant strongly manifested. Equally though, the steaming intensity is commendably matched by plenty of melodies and certainly the ambitious cover of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ is unique in its transition from femme blues to neo classical to power metal – and then backwards – wow! Even though the bonus tracks are demos the sound quality is excellent with the vocals and all instruments being clear which is definitely needed given the technicality of the work here and even on the more straight forward tracks like ‘Lady Savage’ you can appreciate the musicianship of these aspiring power metallers even in those early days and isolated surroundings. An excellent blast to the past – aloha!