Here we have the by now fifth studio album of former legend HALLOWS EVE. Former legend? Yes, if you consider that they really made a fool out of themselves on the „Keep It True“ festival and with the last album couldn’t land a hit either.
But can the old veterans gain lost ground with “The Neverending Sleep“? Up to a point, yes. For one they have brought back original singer Stacy Andersen, which is an extremely positive factor. And secondly they seem to be going back in time towards classics such as “Death & Insanity” and even more so the criminally underrated “Monument”. But still, you should not expect immortal hymns such as “Metal Merchant“, “Lethal Tendencies“ or “Speed Freak“, yet the guys do have the abilities to still belt out some strong asskickers. Especially the first four songs at least strike a chord with me with their simple, harsh and somewhat dumb riffs in best EXCITER/RAZOR tradition, there might not be any special melodies, but the pure force definitely is there. After that, though, we get the absolute low point of the album with “72 Virgins“, which sounds like worst PRONG and newer PANTERA, “Interface” with its unmotivated yelling sounds just as shitty, at least the viscous groover “Bed Of Nails” manages to make up some lost ground again. The weird instrumental “Through Dark And Dawn” I could have done without as well, thankfully slow closer “The Sun Must Die” makes up for it with its great chorus.
The sound brings some more deductions, the whole thing sounds somewhat muddy, especially the drums clatter a bit too much, but for some fans exactly that will have its very own appeal. If you had liked the comebacks of MORTAL SIN and LÄÄZ ROCKIT, then you should give HALLOWS EVE another chance, too, even though they haven’t quite come back to where they are supposed to yet. Now we just need some good gigs again.
(Online December 22, 2011)