Hell by HellRelease date: August 11, 2017
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
The much anticipated new self titled full length from Hell is here. This Pacific Northwest sludge/doom band have captured the attention of many fans over the years, and has a somewhat elusive presence on when and where they will be playing or releasing albums. Everyone is looking forward to this release.
Expecting this to fall similar to either Hell I, Hell II, and even possibly Hell III, I was curious how Hell was going to differentiate from the previous releases. Before going into technical detail of the album, I will say that this release captivates the same ethereal emotion that runs along the sludge, creating a whirlwind of emotions. To me it is closest with Hell II for this reason. But possibly more powerful.
This 7 song album starts with ‘Helmzmen’, an Electric Wizard type riffs to start you off with. For me, it is powerful and the guitars are relentless with the deep, doom riffs. Vocals are scratchy, bold, and undoubtedly scary in a sense. The “breakdown” in the song is one of the longest I’ve heard and it turns into a clean, high pitch guitar that is impassable. The song suddenly gets fast and, yet the doom guitars are still pounding in the background. It is pure chaos in the best way possible.
The third song ‘Machitikos’ has an amazing bass tone in it. Low, sludgy and in your face. There is also a pause that lets you concentrate on the wuthering guitars. Then a drum beat comes on, and this song is a bit faster than the ones previous. It is definitely a banger and I would love to see this live. The ending brings you to a ripping guitar solo that quickly fades out and brings you to the 4th song ‘Wandering Soul’.
Now ‘Wandering Soul’ is a bit more old school – almost a Black Sabbath type riff to start off with. Changing the whole album up completely. But what really sticks out to me, is the 6th song ‘Victus’. There is a part where drums and bass drop out completely and it is entirely sludgy, ethereal, distorted guitar. It then goes into a clean tone and violins come into play. It is really quite beautiful and cathartic. This song along would get me to buy this album.
This epic album closes out with an infamous clean guitar serenade that Hell is so well known for. There is also some pretty epic opera type vocals on this song – Latin perhaps? It is very moving and I appreciate that this song is just that – clean guitars, no sludge, and ends on a different note than the rest of the album.
Hell’s self-titled full length is out now. I highly recommend it if you like sludge, pretty doomy USBM, or even a guitarist that wants to be inspired. This is a great album for you!