Posts Tagged ‘Hell’s Headbangers’

Expunged - Expunged

Review by Sandre the Giant

If I had to take a wild guess from the cover, I think these guys probably like Entombed a bit. Canada’s Expunged have released their debut EP this year, self titled of course, through Hells Headbangers and it is a fine blast of death metal goodness.

Opener ‘Disposed in Chaos and War’ races from the starting blocks, rampant Swedish death riffs, belching growls and a powerhouse drumming performance helps bolster their credentials immediately. It turns into a big chuggy beast of a track which is brilliant, followed by the crushing ‘Melting Flesh’. Expunged have decided to forgo any attempts to be overly technical, or subtle for that matter, and have concentrated on writing some of the most straightforward death metal around. No bad thing in this world, especially when you have songs like ‘Putrefying Mind’ and the staggeringly brutal ‘Dark Age Crusade’ to compete with. Expunged just fucking get it, they know what they’re doing and they do it so well you’d be forgiven for wondering if these guys have been doing this for 30 years.

I’ve said repeatedly over the years that bands don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they just need to be good at what they do. You could argue that Expunged are a little derivative of their chosen influences. Or you could not be a cunt and just bang your fucking head to some seriously great death metal and enjoy life a little more. ‘Expunged’ is definitely worth your time.

https://www.facebook.com/expungeddeathmetal/

https://expunged-canada.bandcamp.com/album/expunged

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/

scumripper - all veins cover.jpg

A band called Scumripper. On Hells Headbangers. With an album entitled ‘All Veins Blazing’. A happy romp through a land of wizards and unicorns is unlikely. This nasty, deathpunkcrust blast of violence is out now, and promises to be 20 minutes of nothing but hate.

Opener ‘Colonel Gator’ is just that, crusty black/death metal that sounds like a rabid animal chewing through your flesh. There’s an innate catchiness to it all, a rawkish call to arms to invade your local sewer and batter out some rancid tunes. Every song sounds like there’s been a hefty dose of venom secreted into the riffs, and the insertion of random samples adds to the menace. The grinding bass that opens ‘Eight Rapes a Week’ is fantastic, and it then spirals out into pure Discharge worship. My only gripe is that the songs do all sound very similar, and a little experimentation wouldn’t go amiss. Not too much though, because they don’t want to lose that tone.

‘All Veins Blazing’ doesn’t stick around for long, which means you need to slap that repeat button a few times to really scratch that itch, but the nasty punkish attack gives you plenty to think about. Scumripper need to work on their range a little bit, but they’ve totally nailed the sound.

https://www.facebook.com/scumripper/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

https://scumripper-finland.bandcamp.com/album/all-veins-blazing

The ultra cult flag bearer of Chilean Black/death, Invocation Spells are back with their fourth collection of unholy hymns of hatred and filth, ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’, which is out now through Hells Headbangers. Following their superb ‘The Flame of Hate’ record, released last year on HH too, this has a legacy to live up to.

‘Ruins of Cemetery’ begins with a cruel, chugging riff that has the most killer necro guitar tone, before speeding off towards Hades itself. Guttural bellows accompany riffs that start at early Kreator then vanish deep into the depths of earth. Molten Slayerisms spiral from the brutal ‘Victims of Doom’, while the speed metal energy of ‘Spread Cruelty’ is a sight of the evolution of Invocation Spells. No longer content to just be thrashy, blackened necro bastards, their song writing is becoming more nuanced and more memorable with every release.

The vocals are unhinged growls and screams that sound as if they are separated from you by a layer of murk; indistinct in lyric but clear in intention. These are two guys who aim to slash and maim with their instruments, with the serrated slice of ‘Old Rites’ and the rusting blade of ‘From the Graves’, they’re going to achieve that quite readily. Blasting forth in a mere 26 minutes, ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’ is a record that is both a perfect length and over too soon. Invocation Spells are a standout of the Chilean scene, but their musical record speaks for itself and plants them firmly at the top. This is another killer weapon in their arsenal for upcoming tours and releases.

https://www.facebook.com/InvocationSpells/

https://invocationspells.bandcamp.com/album/spread-cruelty-in-the-abyss

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

bonehunter - children cover.jpeg

The third and possibly most anticipated album from Finland’s Bonehunter is ‘Children of the Atom’, and the collision of classic Bathory, punk and death/thrash has never been more vibrant. Due out on Hells Headbangers in September, I was a big fan of their ‘Evil Triumphs Again’ debut so this looks to be another gem.

Wrapped in awesome Joe Pentagno artwork, thrashy opener ‘Demonic Nuclear Armament’ sets the stage perfectly with its raspy mix of early Sodom and Bathory, but shot through with some cool punkish guitar parts. This is an incredibly hooky record, with every song having some part of it being really catchy. A very primal form of deaththrash, ‘The Reek of Reaper’s Scythe’ is a manic stabbing of a track, while the title track gallops like a more vicious NWOBHM heyday track. In fact, the whole thing reminds me of a more polished version of one of my favourite bands of the last few years, Hellripper.

It’s nice to get a break from all hell for leather though, the slower doomy section of ‘Black Star Carcass’ is a nice change of pace, before the blastbeats return with a vengeance, and the cool solo in ‘Spider’s Grave’ also mixes it up a little. Sure, the bread and butter is blackened deathy thrash but Bonehunter show that you can dip in and out of other genres and speeds without sacrificing intensity. Still, ‘Children of the Atom’ is at its best when barrelling forward like a runaway train, and the Motorhead-like ‘Cybernetic Vampirism’ is a perfect example of that.

Scouring the best parts of old Sodom and Bathory, cranking up the intensity and then dropping melody nukes right on top of it, ‘Children of the Atom’ is an absolutely beast of a record; monstrous and ferocious and yet insanely catchy. Why can’t everything be like this?!

https://bonehunter-finland.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-atom

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bonehuntermetal/

The reissue of seminal Cleveland metallers Black Death’s lone full length from 1984 is cause for much celebration. For one thing, Hells Headbangers has introduced me to this band, that I had never heard of, and their fascinating story about being the first ‘all-black’ metal band. Most importantly, it is to be celebrated that this record gets a new audience, because it is totally killer. You couldn’t ask for a better encapsulation of pre-thrash 1980s heavy metal than this.

I’m not going to reference the members’ skin colour again, because frankly it really doesn’t contribute anything to the review of their music, but if anything it shows that heavy metal can inject itself into the soul of any race, religion or person. ‘Black Death’ opens with the galloping ‘Night of the Living Death’, that breathes with a fiery ‘Killers’-era Iron Maiden vibe, and proceeds to travel through a whole range of styles. You want a soulful, bluesy ballad? Try ‘When Tears Runs Red’ on for size, as frontman Siki Spacek croons over a Sabbathian groove. You want doomy heavy metal thunder? Try the King Diamond-esque ‘Fear No Evil’. You want classic heavy metal turned up to ELEVEN? Try the whole goddamn album. ‘Scream of the Iron Messiah’ is probably the best track here, possessed by the spirits of Diamond Head, Iron Maiden and Angel Witch.

Black Death are still out there, as Black Death Resurrected, and Iron Fist Magazine did a great article on them in issue 20 if you want to learn more. All you need to know about this record is that it is an absolute old school heavy metal gem. I got myself one immediately after the first listen, and you all should too.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackDeathResurrected/

https://black-death.bandcamp.com/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

Cover art

Vaultwraith seems to have born out of a desire to bring the horror metal of early King Diamond and Mercyful Fate to a more extreme and bloodthirsty audience. Searching in amongst the ruins of ancient castles, these Missourians have found rituals and arcane magic that brings to life the ghosts of Nocturnus, Celtic Frost and Bathory, weaving a classic heavy metal streak through them to create ‘Death is Proof of Satan’s Power’. Hells Headbangers is dropping this on Halloween.

First to rise from the grave is ‘The Vaultwraith’ and the band’s eponymous track is a perfect encapsulation of what is to come, with galloping thrash riffs meeting scowling vocals and insidious melodies to create something defiantly old school. Haunting keyboards hover in the distance, enhancing but never overpowering. Imagine ‘Ravaged in the Crimson Mist’ as a Judas Priest song, but dipped into the murky black waters of Sodom, or Bathory. Vaultwraith’s true talent lies within their ability to create a collection of songs that are both catchy and still raw and filthy.

You’ll be humming every nasty riff and throaty growl, air keyboarding when the ethereal notes seep through this blackened thrash nightmare. The rumbling menace of ‘Open Grave Rape’ and the ethereal grimness of ‘High Priestess of the Wolf Coven’ mixes the raw thrash of the early tracks with a more measured, horror-induced style that really stands out. ‘Death is Proof of Satan’s Power’ is an album that unlocks its majesty slowly, drawing you in with temptains of headbanging and then meanders through your mind, enslaving you to its ghostly horrors. Stunning.

https://vaultwraith-us.bandcamp.com/album/death-is-proof-of-satans-power

https://www.facebook.com/vaultwraith/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

As you can tell by the album cover, Krossfyre’s ‘Burning Torches’ is a celebration of rabid, hyperspeed thrashy metal that is all about bullet belts, Satan and playing as fast as possible. Full of members of some of the Spanish underground’s most memorable bands (Graveyard, Körgull the Exterminator, Morbid Flesh for example) ‘Burning Torches’ is a rampant debut from these Spaniards and thanks to Hells Headbangers we all get to hear it!

You’ve heard it all before but who gives a fuck, right? Metal is metal, and sometimes you just need that familiar boost of aggression and rage. When Krossfyre kick into ‘Fire Solution’, horns flail and heads bang with gusto. The grimy production helps to add an extra dose of nastiness into the tracks, while howling screams play over maddening solos. When a band draws back to classic Nifelheim and Bestial Mockery, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat, but Krossfyre have an undeniable METAL streak running through them, and that gives the melodies a little more pep. The infectious title track show exactly what I mean with its glorious solo.

Galloping thrash meets proto black metal aggression in an electric debut, full of energy and memorable hooks. Let Krossfyre into your life as this is a poison you’ll be glad to be infected by. Krossfyre are the black/thrash combo we’ve been looking for; a band that can actually inject melody without losing the fury within. ‘Burning Torches’ is fucking ace.

https://krossfyre-spain.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/krossfyre666/

http://krossfyre.bigcartel.com/

South American two man project of black/death metal? Man, it’s such a cliche but with that mere description you just KNOW it’s gonna kick ass. It might be derivative, it might even suck, but that kind of tag line will always make me pay attention. Hades Archer are from Chile, and their ‘Temple of the Impure’ record is a fire breathing explosion of nasty riffs and boiling hatred. Due out in October on Hells Headbangers, it is time for violence.

Unholy incantations lead us into the storming ‘Chaos Teratosis Chimeras’, in which torrents of blastbeats pour from the speakers while the more measuredly vicious ‘The Gods Sold This World from Destruction’ is a swaying, hypnotic second wave black metal classic in modern dressings. There are some delightful moments of pure musical greatness lurking amongst the murk of Temple of the Impure’, where you just break out into a smile at how cool that little melody was (‘Hecate Undressed’) or how visceral some of the riff and vocal combinations feel (‘Apollyon’s Brightness’).

‘Temple of the Impure’ is an album that challenges perception of what South American black/death is supposed to sound like. Not only comfortable at 100mph, it is in fact their more measured and doomier moments that are the highlights, and Hades Archer stand above such one dimensional cliches now. ‘Temple of the Impure’ is a record that everyone should drop before and worship, for in this darkness is greatness.

https://hadesarcher.bandcamp.com/

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/

One of the very first American black metal bands, Summon’s classic debut ‘Dark Descent of Fallen Souls’ is being released on vinyl for the first time by Werewolf Records in collaboration with Hells Headbangers. Originally released in 1997 into a world sodden in American death metal, Summon’s stride towards the blacker world was brave yet done with foresight. Due out at the start of September, it is time to be reacquainted with an old friend…

After the suitably medieval synth intro, the savagery and primal 90s feeling is immediately in place with the title track. You can feel the influence of the likes of Mayhem, Marduk and the like on the fuzzy, burning riffs and the manic rasping screams. ‘Eve of Anti-Creation’ is a beautifully blasphemous ode to the black metal of old, of the frozen North, and it feels like a welcoming embrace. An embrace of studded leather and inverted crosses, but you get my meaning. A feeling of cold familiarity smothers you during the harsh ‘Under the Midnight Shadows’, and the olden black magicks arise once more in the haunting ‘Beyond the Gates of Storm’.

Summon are a band I’ve been familiar with but never had a chance to fully embrace. The rerelease of this allows me, and more like me to really reconnect with a USBM legend, whose legacy should never be forgotten. ‘Dark Descent of Fallen Souls’ is a ghostly, traditional masterpiece of purest black fucking metal, and it is glorious to behold.

https://werewolfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dark-descent-of-fallen-souls

https://www.facebook.com/SUMMON-115792518441039/

http://neuntoter.org/

Cultes des Ghoules - Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love

Cultes Des Ghoules are one of those bands that come along but once in a lifetime, and these Polish black metallers have stepped up their game on their magnum opus ‘Coven’. A massive, double disc album running over an hour and a half of supreme evil and oddness, Cultes Des Ghoules are changing black metal as we know it, creating unsettling and ritualistic black magic that is hypnotising.

Massive opener ‘The Prophecy (Prologue) / Devell, the Devell He Is, I Swear God… (Scene I) ‘ (catchy!) runs a massive 22 minutes, and yet is NOT the longest track here. Yes folks, this is an endurance test but one made up of some fine black metal and occult teachings. It is carved into 5 ‘scenes’, like some macabre play with a cast of characters that exist in some hellish, otherworldly void of Sabbathian groove and shrieking black metal madness. Each scene is musically dynamic, shifting from blasting to more midpaced riffing and even some rumbling doomy parts. You get latter period Darkthrone, stifling Deathspell Omega moments and creepy, Ruins of Beverast style darkness, particularly the latter in ‘Strange Day, See the Clash of Heart and Reason… (Scene III)’.

An album like this cannot be taken lightly. It isn’t just a record that can be chucked on while you’re doing other things. It is a record that you need to sit down, ignore everything else and just indulge in the sheer creativeness. Cultes Des Ghoules have taken the concept album, turned it on its head and created a shapeshifting, emotionally distraught record of unsettling music. To be honest, it is almost too difficult to review each part, as the album flows together like one piece. All I would recommend you do is to get it and settle in for a true experience, because for once this is a band that sounds like no one else.

https://www.facebook.com/CultesDesGhoules/

https://cultesdesghoules.bandcamp.com/album/coven-or-evil-ways-instead-of-love