PANDEMONIUM - Hellspawn (MYSTIC - CD 2007)
The storm is coming! And “Hellspawn” is its name. Pandemonium has released this album in 2007 and while many fans of the old style of the band felt like “The Zonei” was too experimental for their tastes, “Hellspawn” offers the band, which comes back to their roots and once again lurks into the traditional styles of dark death and black metal, playing them in their only rightful way. Personally I also have felt like “The Zonei” is not really an album, which fits my expectations which I had for band like Pandemonium. I rather prefer the classic early recordings of this band – “Devilri” and “The Ancient Catatonia” mostly – but also I really like what they have done under the name Domain on the excellent “…From Oblivion…” CD. So, I had a lot of hesitations and prejudice for “Hellspawn”. Luckily though, the album turned out to be much better than I expected and definitely more interesting than “The Zonei”, although still it is far from the brilliance of some of the old recordings, which Paul and his comrades have spawned in the pits of hell.
The opening riff of “Frost”, surely the best track of the whole album, immediately caught my attention and forced into the maniacal headbanging. This is what I like to hear: a memorable, classic riff, which may remind you Christ Agony a bit, but which holds such a huge dose of deadly energy that it doesn’t need anything else than just repetitive listening. “Frost” is actually really well composed track, it offers much more than just this one riff and that includes sort of calmer middle part and few more melodious riffs here and there. “…Now unleashed the hell... The pure glory is near of antichrist!”. Yeah, great song, but there’s not much time for resting, as the title track resounds and offers a mix of slightly faster paces with incredibly dark and almost epic ones (which have a contribution of keyboards, but don’t worry – the way this instrument has been used is the only good one, in my opinion, which means its parts are about to underline the essence of the riff and its atmosphere… Just like on Domain’s “…From Oblivion…” album, really!). Another good song, so the beginning of “Hellspawn” is very promising.
There’s no really a point in describing each of the ten tracks, which build “Hellspawn”. Let me just say that most of them are really good and deliver a quality metal, which we all are in hunger for. It definitely pleases to hear Pandemonium back in their original style. You can easily recognise it from the way Paul and his comrades play the riffs, build the atmosphere… Sometimes it’s just very straight forward, other times they also incorporate more original interruptions in the songs (like in “Hypnotic Dimension” for instance), change the dynamics, rhythms and whatever, just to make the music as varied as it’s possible... Some other time the music on “Hellspawn” is surprisingly vicious and fast, when the band blasts with the speed, which we haven’t really experienced on the old Pandemonium releases… Listen to “The Larva Plague”, “Emperor Diabolic” or “Destination of Hellfire” for that matter and see yourself how does it sound. And then there’s “Hatesound Eternal”, which focuses on more melodic and catchy playing or “Furious Dogs”, which is like a conglomeration of everything that “Hellspawn” has to offer. After listening to “Hellspawn” I can truly say that I cannot see many faults in it. It definitely is a solid and good album, one which I like to listen to occasionally and have no doubts should be in the collection of every Pandemonium fan.
Standout tracks: “Frost”, “Destination of Hellfire”, “Hellspawn”, “Furious Dogs”
Final rate: 70/100