Hitten – While Passion Lasts (High Roller Records)Wednesday, 22nd November 2023
On our radar screen for one of the current spotlight bands parading their heavy metal/melodic hard rock ways, Hitten has developed an impressive discography since arriving in 2011. Finally securing a permanent drummer with Willy Medina in the fold, the fifth studio album While Passion Lasts arrives in the hope of continuing that highlight reel streak of material that brings back visions of the past while they place their own seal of creative ideas, hooks, and playable songs to a current audience that craves this style.
An eerie, atmospheric “Prelude to Passion” intro sets the record in motion, the keyboard sequences, delayed effects, plus guitarist work from Dani and Johnny Lorca soon gives way to the mid-tempo title track. Most people will appreciate the larger-than-life chorus, superlative Dokken meets Queensrÿche-ish rhythm guitar / supplementary lines, and fiery lead breaks while the bass and drums lock into a steady, in the pocket metal foundation. The record continues to intersperse catchy hard rockers with traditional metal anthem songs, when artists like Dio, Rough Cutt, Sykes-era Whitesnake, and the aforementioned artists reigned supreme from the mid-80’s through early 90’s on the radio, video, or album charts. Fists fly high to the guitar/drum main foundation for “Mr. Know It All”, where vocalist Alexx Panza injects more of his infectious personality against some ripping high octane singing – while the more commercial side comes out in the emotional verse to chorus payoff for “Hold Up the Night”. You can also expect a more ballad-like effort to provide dynamic contrast, and that’s what you’ll get in the power format for “Where It All Begins”, the dual harmony axe movements once again raising hairs as the necessary tools for aural domination.
Unlike the previous album Triumph & Tragedy, Hitten chooses to stick to ten radio-friendly arrangements that get the job done effectively through While Passion Lasts. By the time the double bass-oriented closer “Crimetime” ends the proceedings, most metalheads will be ready to take on the world, fueled with passionate enthusiasm over what they’ve just taken in. A great intersection of the old with the new puts this Spanish band on the same level as their contemporaries who prove that classic heavy metal never dies.