Thursday, 29 December 2011

Hellthrasher Productions reviews

Here are the reviews of some stuff that Hellthrasher Prod ( have unleashed upon us:
DEMONIC SLAUGTER - Revelations of Death
ESCARNIUM - Rex Verminorum

Sincerely saying, it's always great to see another cool label arising and releasing some interesting materials. Hellthrasher has been familiar to me much earlier though; since they started as a distro I kept buying CDs and LPs from them and always enjoyed the stuff they've been getting and the low prices. I was kind of surprised to see them transforming into a proper label, but I guess it's just a natural transformation - if you're doing well, then you look for another challenges. And releasing your own stuff is one for sure. Hellthrasher Productions started with Decaying CD I think and since then they've unleashed few more albums upon the weak mankind. I've got links for the mp3 promotional materials to review and even though I don't like to review stuff basing my opinion on mp3, I took an occasion anyway, as the albums seemed to be very cool and at the moment I couldn't afford to buy them. So... Let the chaos begin!
First one to check was Demonic Slaughter and their album titled "Revelations of Death". Well, I remember I had a chance to review Demonic Slaughter's demo few years ago, it was titled "Dignity of Terror". I can’t find it anywhere now (oh, that mess in my collection hehe), maybe I gave it away to someone, no idea, but if I remember well it was pretty raw and primitive slab of black metal... and one of very mediocre quality. Since then I lost interest in Demonic Slaughter, but it turned out they've released two albums afterwards and now "Revelations of Death" is already the third full length effort! Not bad at all, ha? Of course not always quantity comes in hand with quality, but I hope that the previous albums are not so bad and maybe one day I’ll have a chance to listen to them. Meanwhile I gave few listens to "Revelations of Death" and definitely I can admit that the music on it is far more mature than the one from a demo and definitely it's good that the band has progressed and now delivers more interesting and solid portion of bestial black metal. After the cool intro "Funeral", a song called "Remains" started... and I was quite shocked, as the style of this song is almost on the verge of old school death metal! I don't know, maybe it's just the production, which is very untypical for black metal, what makes me think that. Anyway, the song's style wasn't what I expected at all. From the other hand I must also say that this is an awfully average track, with rather uninspiring riffing and honestly only the vocals rescue it from a complete disaster - as the vocals are really great, with plenty of variations in the screaming style. So, the start of the album is not the best, but luckily this is the only song from the album that I didn't like, the rest is much better!
First of all, there's “Chant of the Graves”, which also starts quite unremarkably, but from its mid part through to the end it only gets better and better. And then there's "Rites From the Past", probably the best track on the CD. I must say these two tracks have a bigger focus on creating a deep atmosphere and have some fantastic, sometimes almost catchy riffs, but they also bring a strong resemblance to Mayhem, mostly due to the vocals, which have been sang in Attila's style. "Rites From the Past" is, I think, in its entirety deeply influenced by "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"; check out the riffing, but that's not a problem for me, because Demonic Slaughter plays it well and this track has great nihilistic atmosphere and while the previous songs were more or less midpaced, here the tempo is much faster and exactly like the one from that cult album I’ve mentioned earlier. In this song Demonic Slaughter managed to catch the essence and sinister feeling of black metal most, but I must I also really like the song titled "Prayer of Accursed", which is much slower, almost kind of melancholic and again has some excellent riffs and vocal parts. For the second part of the album Demonic Slaughter incorporated more and more intros into the music, so the atmosphere gets only darker and more sinister and that's great, especially with such tracks as "Communion of Dissolution". So, in the end "Revelations of Death" turned out to be quite solid and interesting release. I did enjoy it, but from the other hand I can honestly say that if I had to make a list of my favourite black metal releases of the last two years and focus just on the Polish bands, then I don't think "Revelations of Death" would make it to the top fifteen. There were better albums, this one is sometimes quite uneven, some of its parts are slightly mediocre, but still, this is good and worthy CD. With no hesitation I give it a solid 70 / 100 points.
Now another Hellthrasher release, which is a split CD of two death metal acts: Resurgency and Desolator. I didn't know any of them earlier, but this is why it's so cool to get such releases, as you can get to know bands you’ve never heard of earlier. The album is opened by Resurgency, which is a Greek band. It features members from another good band from there, Necrovorous. I think their part of the split features the "Dark Revival" demo from 2010, which is so far the only recording this band did. Anyway, definitely it's cool, bloody chunk of death metal. While listening to them I have an impression that Resurgency tries to use all the best ingredients of both American and European scenes and glue them together into their own death metal monster. There's a strong similarity to Sinister I think, as well as Blood Red Throne, even Vader, and from the other hand one may notice some influences from the likes of Monstrosity or recent Deicide albums. I can truly say that despite the fact that I've heard similar music many times before, I enjoyed Resurgency anyway. They have solid songs, based on some great riffs and with dense, brutal atmosphere. The production on their demo is also very good, so there's absolutely nothing that I could complain. Meanwhile Desolator (from Sweden) offers even more traditional and old school death metal. The first riff sounds like a big rip off from Slayer's "Hell Awaits" really, even the production is quite close, but that quickly changes and the band takes the path of more chaotic and intense, but also quite archaic sounding death metal direction. Think of Vader's demos, as well as some old Swedish and Finnish bands, like Adramelech, Demigod or early Merciless. The music is obscure, sinister and aggressive, just as that kind of stuff should be. Desolator doesn't really tries to play melodic or catchy stuff, they're also not the most killer band in the world. But there's some charm in their material that I think will find many fans, who won't resist it.
So, to resume, this is cool split CD. But just like with Demonic Slaughter, I can't say these are the best bands around, as the old school death metal scene is in such a good condition now and the competition is huge... But death metal is not a sport. As long as the band plays killer and solid music, I have nothing against. Both Resurgency and Desolator are worth checking definitely... And if I was going to say which of those two I liked more, I must say it's quite tough decision... so, let's call it even. (68 / 100)
And the last release from Hellthrasher, which is a Brazilian death metal commando called Escarnium. “Rex Verminorum” CD brings three songs from their “Rex Verminorum” EP plus four tracks from the "Covered in Decadence" demo. 30 minutes of brutal death metal in total! Well, Brazilian death metal means either Sepultura's early masterpieces or fast and uncompromising bombing in the vein of Krisiun and Rebaelliun. As such Escarnium surely doesn’t sound typically Brazilian; definitely it’s nothing like Krisiun. But instead “Rex Verminorum” brings absolutely killer dose of Incantation influenced old school, dark death metal. If you like the recent albums from that American legend, then keep your eye open here! Escarnium quite often sounds similar, with the only exception that they more frequently speed up and put some brutal blasting parts (“Dark Clouds Above Hell’s Fire”!!!), but still sound very old school, just like Morta Skult or even Disincarnate! At times the music sounds slightly Swedish, when the band slows down (“Self Proclaimed Messiah”, “Rex Verminorum”) and starts to remind me not only Incantation, but also Grave or even early Hypocrisy... Anyway, the whole is excellent, very well played and with great riffs and songs. I absolutely liked all the songs they’ve putted on the CD, the performance is just top notch, the songs and their arrangements are top quality and I’m really surprised that the underground band managed to put out something so killer, with such excellent riffing and fantastic vocals… Just everything in here makes me bang my head and destroy everything around. Pure hatred, destruction and no mercy! So far this is the best release from Hellthrasher, one which I cannot recommend enough. You just must buy it! If you liked some of those newer bands, like Disma, then those Brazilians have a death metal samba just for you! Killer stuff! (90 / 100)

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