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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Hittman - 1988 Hittman
Hittman - 1988 Hittman

ARTIST: Hittman
ALBUM: Hittman
LABEL: SPV (Europe/UK) Roadracer (USA)
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Dirk Kennedy - vocals * Jim Bachi - guitars * John Kristen - guitars * Michael Buccell - bass * Chuck Kory - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Metal Sport * 02 Dead On Arrival * 03 Will You Be There * 04 Breakout * 05 Backstreet Rebels * 06 Caught In The Crossfire * 07 Secret Agent Man * 08 Behind The Lines * 09 The Test Of Time

Hittman.. aah.. a great name for a metal band. From Long Island NY, these guys started life back in 1984, with Bachi and Buccell the two key instigators of the band. Singer Dirk Kennedy and drummer Chuck Kory would soon sign on to become Hittman, but the second guitarist position proved to be an ongoing thorn, until after a few members came and went, the band settled on John Kristen. Hittman are well schooled in what is now known as traditional heavy metal, though back then we were none the wiser. With Dirk Kennedy, Hittman have styled their particular brand of HM on bands such as Fifth Angel, Crimson Glory, Vicious Rumors and Helstar, let us not forget the Queensryche influence as Geoff Tate is a huge reference point for Kennedy. The twin guitar attack is also reminiscent of those aforementioned bands, Hittman though are a very clean razor sharp outfit who have all the musical chops down pat. 1985 saw them release their acclaimed 5 track 'Metal Sport' demo. It took them awhile (three years) to land the big fish, but with constant gigging on the East Coast and support slots for leading HM bands of the era, SPV/Steamhammer came knockin'. The debut Hittman LP ironically enough, first found its release in Europe through SPV/Steamhammer, consequently followed up by a domestic US release through Roadracer sometime later.

The Songs
The debut album provides us with nine tracks, of which only the opening track 'Metal Sport' was bought through from that 1985 demo. The hi-tech intro to this song gets us off to a rip-roaring start.. some fantastic guitarwork in the vein of Fifth Angel plus the double kick drum work from Chuck Kory is a highlight. 'Dead On Arrival' provides more high speed mechanics but by the time we reach 'Will You Be There', Hittman slow it up a tad but don't dispense with the power. 'Breakout' features the big gang chants amid galloping riffs of escapist proportions.. The riffs are basic and heavy for 'Backstreet Rebels', but the metronome is turned up for the double-time beat of 'Caught In The Crossfire'. You gotta love the Mission Impossible theme being played through on 'Secret Agent Man', yes we all know the good guys love their heavy metal! One of my fave tracks is the intense power ballad 'Behind The Lines', which is similar to material off Queensryche's 'Rage For Order' but with more power and intensity. Simply a great heaving slab of 80's melodic metal! Hittman finish up with dual riffage of 'The Test Of Time', with big bucket drums from Kory to add to the occasion.

In Summary
The band certainly had their name in lights, but were struggling to contend with major changes going on in the metal movement, with hair/glam metal taking over one side of the fence while thrash metal was thriving in the other paddock. Traditional heavy metal as it were was phasing out, and bands who occupied the vacant lot had to adapt or die. Of course, grunge would come along and wash away most of the hard rock genres in one foul swoop, so it was a moot point. Hittman were themselves (excuse the pun) caught in the crossfire, and came back six years later with a new album 'Vivas Machinas', whereby they had turned their attention to a form of technical heavy metal, moving away from their origins and finding a home in the muddy waters of 90's HM. The band according to singer Dirk Kennedy never really split, and in this day and age of reunions and classic rock money-making, we may yet see the return of Hittman, coming to a dark alleyway near you.

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Tags: Hittman 
#1 | reyno-roxx on June 21 2009 15:01:47
A great band with a lot of potential. I saw them play a couple of gigs in the States and they were incredibly tight.
I think 'Vivas Machinas' went over too many heads. They should've stuck to the kind of stuff that made this album so enjoyable.
I heard from Dirk Kennedy a couple of years ago. He was recording a solo album that, as yet, appears to have not been issued.
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