Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Skol Records (Blood & Iron Re-Issue)
Year: 1988 (2013 Re-Issue)

Todd Michael Hall is -quite unarguably- one of the most appreciated vocalists on the entire heavy metal field. A vast group of metal enthusiasts, picture T.M. Hall as the frontman of Riot, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr or Reverence. However, back in 1988, T.M. Hall was the frontman of an exceptional heavy metal band, Harlet, as well, which was the Hall’s first attempt as a lead singer (and a successful attempt indeed).

So, Harlet released their first (and only, till this day) full length album, entitled “25 Gets A Ride” after many changes in its lineup. The original “first presses” were released independently (1000 cassettes, 500 CDs) by the band itself, thus the physical copies are rarer than snow blizzards in Sahara. As Todd Michael Hall mentioned: “We tried to get the attention of the record labels that ruled the day, but being from a small city made it impossible. Fueled by the audacity of youth, we tried to blaze our own trail by recording and releasing our album independently, which was much less common back then.” Given that, Blood & Iron Records decided to re – issue Harlet’s debut in 2013 and release it in a 12” beautiful vinyl.

The result was quite interesting.

At first sight, the record seems to have little to offer to you, especially if you pay attention solely to the artwork, where a foxy lady stands next to a bar, probably in the middle of the night. The cover is a little bit below average in quality; however it oozes authenticity and that teenage excitement quality that ain’t easily found. So, don’t judge a book by its cover and just hit the play button (I’m the clichés ultimate warrior, I know).

What you’ll come across is 13 tracks (9 + 4 bonuses) of pure Classic American Heavy / Power sound with high pitched vocals. Most of the songs are based on classic heavy structures, emitting loads of passion and devotion to the genre they serve, although there’s no groundbreaking synthesis that will actually blow your socks off. While the riffs are simple and plain, they do keep you engaged, although some more catchy riffs and solos wouldn’t cause a problem. There are no ultra – fast guitars or supersonic drumming, however the outcome is satisfying and makes you feel content. The melodic moments stand out strongly, while the greatest asset of the record (Todd’s huge vocal range) embraces those moments, sky-rocketing the final result: decent, solid, quite conventional and most of all, distinctive US heavy metal.

“25 Gets A Ride” would be a nice addition to your collection. After all, it is US Heavy Metal, isn’t it?

Highlights: Don’t Stop Now, Cold Of The Night, Take Your Chances, Bought –n- Paid For