Posts Tagged ‘Hell’s Headbangers’

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/

Advertisements

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

Long time followers of the metal creed may not know HAXXAN, as this is a new band but featuring Killjoy DeSade from legends Necrophagia. HAXXAN is a black metal offering of tribute and influence to one Aleister Crowley, of whom Killjoy is a great enthusiast. Bringing together musical influences from Candlemass, Beherit and Bathory with more than a dash of Celtic Frost, HAXXAN are an untter joy to behold.

Opener ‘Loch Ness Rising’ is a stomping slab of proto-doom, with Killjoy’s throat shredding vocals scowling over swaying riffs and creepy samples. Possessed of a cold spirit, and an uneasy tension that absorbs through the skin, HAXXAN feels more like a rhythmic ritual conjuring than a simple black metal record. The moody ’93’ is a highlight for me, as is the uncomfortable atonal ‘Babalon’, If the purpose of this record was to invoke those same, mystic darknesses of Crowley then it has been achieved.

The churning ‘Chemical Perversions’ is probably the closest to a ‘perfect’ HAXXAN song; encompasses everything from their mid tempo thrust, their mystic atmospheres and their harsh, evil vocals. The guitarwork is simple yet grindingly effective, hypnotising your brain with swirling riffs. This is an excellent record, showing that speed and blasting is not all black metal can be. It is the feeling that counts, and ‘Loch Ness Rising’ has it in spades.

https://www.facebook.com/Haxxan-174927032567336/

https://haxxan-ohio.bandcamp.com/album/loch-ness-rising

http://www.hellsheadbangers.com/