Blitzkrieg – Back From Hell

blitzkrieg-back_from_hellBritish NWOBHM band Blitzkrieg have returned with a new album, entitled Back From Hell. Melodic while still retaining structure, this album will appeal to fans of 80s era heavy metal, as well as those who prefer death/black metal but can appreciate skillfully constructed metal whatever form it may take.

Back From Hell has the band mostly keeping true to the traditional NWOBHM sound, with a few elements of further-developed speed metal present. Songs are expertly arranged, with each track featuring a clearly developed concept that never loses focus. This allows immersion within the verse-chorus structure and quickly illuminates the theme present within each. Verse and chorus are linked together with skillful transitions that makes the distinction between them organic, rather than artificial. Ornaments such as solos and fills are executed tastefully, with an eye towards shaping them into the song rather than the reverse.

Tracks are a mixture between heavier material and those that have more in common with 90s radio hard-rock and seem placed solely for commercial exposure. On these tracks the band forgoes thematic development in favor of repetition. Fortunately, those are the exception and not the rule; and while they do interrupt the album’s narrative to an extent, are still competently conceived.

Exuberant and honest in a way rarely seen among contemporary metal releases, in its best moments Back From Hell transports the listener back to a time when heavy metal was still exciting, and for that reason will be present on many best-of lists for 2013, even if it is marred by some concessions.

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Apostasy The Blade of Hell (2016)

Rising from the pit of late nineties underground speed metal, Chileans Apostasy revived during the last decade to bring back to life a pure demonstration of metal as it is. There is no need to claim to be progressive, harsh, technical or the milliard other epithets that bands and marketing agents have come up to single out bands which present only narrow facets of what the genre can be. We can hear traces of what came to be known as the ‘riff salad,’, but like later death metal outgrowths of the style, there is a sense of organic flow and revolving around a main riff-idea. (more…)

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Pushback Against SJW Invasion Of Metal Begins With Anti-Metalsucks Campaign

Sometimes recognizing parasites becomes difficult. They sidle up to your genre, think that is fairly cool and they want a piece of that action, and then they morph themselves into clones of the fans of that genre. Then they shlurp their way inside of its cell walls, consume its vital energy, and inject their DNA into its core, replacing all that made it unique and meaningful. (more…)

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Pestilence Attempts Comeback But Forgets What Makes Death Metal Great

Listen to a track from the upcoming Hadeon from longstanding Dutch band Pestilence, one is immediately struck by the similarity to late-1990s Morbid Angel: the riffs are there, albeit a bit impatient and tightly circular, but the whole experience is not. What is missing? To understand this, we must go to the core of what made death metal what it is.

If you wanted to explain to a normal person what death metal is, looking at the core of its spirit, you might haul out Slayer Hell Awaits, Hellhammer Apocalyptic Raids, and Bathory The Return… because these influenced the techniques, composition, and spirit of death metal. From Hellhammer and Slayer, it got its song structure and aesthetics; from Bathory its themes and riff technique.

Death metal took the original idea of metal, formed when Black Sabbath and others began using power chords to make phrasal riffs instead of harmony-oriented open chord riffs, and developed it further. This is different than doing something “new” or “progressing” because it means undertaking the much harder task of developing an idea further at a structural level instead of just changing aesthetics.

With the rise of underground metal, death metal adopted chromatic riffing and made the interplay between riffs form a narrative to each song. This abolished typical rock song structure and, because the guitar served as a melodic instrument instead of a harmonic one, forced vocals, bass and drums into a background role. How well the riffs fit together and portrayed an atmosphere, idea, or sensation defined the quality of the music.

Pestilence came from a solid death metal background with Consuming Impulse but showed a speed metal styled approach on Malleus Maleficarum, and this tension has stayed with the band for its entire career. The speed metal style of verse and chorus built on a singular theme that is present in the music is easier to jam on and use harmony to complement, where death metal rarely explicitly states its theme, only silhouetting it in the interaction between its many riffs. With speed metal, bands can set up a chord progression and develop it in layers of internal commentary like jazz, and this puts vocals back in position number one among the lead instruments.

“Non-Physical Existent” is a two-riff song with both based on the same note progression. It creates its intensity through the clash between a ripping circular high speed riff and a slower chromatic riff that uses odd harmony to distinguish notes in an otherwise linear theme. The song breaks into a solo section over one of the riffs, and has a type of turnaround the drops into the faster riff as a return. But there is no real interplay nor any narrative.

From the riffs themselves, this is a good song, but unfortunately, it is not death metal. Nor will it last because essentially it is a closed-circuit video of itself, a riff commented on by another, without resembling any particular experience or emotion, therefore being a null journey, more like stasis in space while riffs loop. It is better than not bad, but still not of real interest to the death metal fan.

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Bring Back The Apocalyptic Raids

Hellhammer is the ultimate symbol of what black metal should be about: a free exploration of dark phrasal music at the hands of a twisted mind.  Typically it was not only the chromatic movements between sections which defined the music of Hellhammer but the linking between them, whose effect was great because individual sections were in fact proper tonal areas.  It was their sensible juxtaposition, which gave the music its unique flavor.  Furthermore, the maniac howling of Tom G. Warrior added the final touches of a music that was to set the example for an enactment that resembled an entrancing ritual more than it did a simple, mundane hedonism and biker metal, which had been the rule until that point.

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MetalSucks Threatens Hells Headbangers

Crybaby social justice warrior metalcore blog MetalSucks posted a statement from a group of metalcore musicians calling for American distro and label Hells Headbangers to stop releasing “Nazi propaganda”or else.

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Death Yell Premiere “Soulless” From Upcoming Descent Into Hell

Chilean death metal band Death Yell premiered a new track off their upcoming debut album Descent Into Hell, which comes out in August on Hells Headbangers. “Soulless” is an unremarkable but inoffensive riff salad. I don’t remember anything about five minutes after listening to it twice other than it reminded me more of Teutonic speed metal than death metal. The album probably won’t be that great and Death Yell will probably end up opening for other Chilean bands such as Pentagram (Chile), Ripper or Unaussprechlichen Kulten.

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Thy Invocation of Hell Reprint

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Malaysian label Afterlife Productions has restored and reprinted Southeast Asia’s first black metal zine, Thy Invocation of Hell. It’s packed with interviews from tons of legendary bands, all conducted in their early and formative years, before wannabe rockstar egos and commercialism took hold. Buy it. From the label’s Facebook page:

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Hobbs’ Angel of Death Announce Comeback Album, Heaven Bled

hobbs' angel of death - heaven bled cover

Australian speed metal band Hobb’s Angel of Death announced the tracklist and release date for their comeback album on Hells Headbangers,Heaven Bled. The album is out October 14th and tracklist is as follows:

  1. Il Mostro Di Firenze
  2. Walk My Path
  3. Final Feast
  4. Suicide
  5. Drawn & Quartered
  6. Heaven Bled
  7. Sadistic Domination
  8. Son Of God
  9. Depopulation
  10. T.F.M.F
  11. Hypocrites
  12. Abomination

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