Keeper's of the Devil's Inn
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Like the loudest mid-'70s work of fellow Midwestern prairie-prog dogs Kansas, Styx and Head East, this power-trio spinoff of Wichita, Kansas obscurities Manilla Road draws appreciably on classic organ-based Brits Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. Only, Hellwell push it through power and doom metal, and make the songs about murderous 1893 Chicago mad scientists, satanic Kansas families, and Vikings battling bear-skinned barbarian cannibals. All regally addressed -- until at last, in 13-minute climax "End of Days," avant-garde synth weirdness marches to the earth's highest peak of keyboard pomp.