Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hell - Hell III (2012)

Full Length, Eternal Warfare
2012


Genre: Doom Metal
Region: USA

Having spent a little more time with Hell's recent full length it has begun to grow on me as much as their first record and their split with Thou. In fact it's easily in the top 20 last year (definitely in the top 5 doom releases) and would've made it high on said list of mine had I allowed myself to spend more time with it.

Often on this album Hell slowly start sounding closer to black metal, especially in the long stretches of tremolo riffs and drawn out rasps. Still  they somehow retain a full on doom pace, heaviness, atmosphere, etc. without resorting to bland funeral laziness. Hell still very much have their own sound and it's even more emphasized here. There's quite a bit of successful experimentation with the use of violins and string instruments and varied dramatic vocals in the second track, never forgetting to make it all bleak and crushing.

Overall at least half clean, harmonized, sorrowful builds echoing alone before drums, bass, vocals or distortion are introduced, which isn't completely off from their past stuff but still threw me a little. III balances the frigid quiet with the explosive tremolo wandering and dissonant doom very well, the simple structures and intensity of the rhythms combine with well crafted writing (maybe their best following their split) and come out with an under appreciated smoldering doom gem.

Only two tracks this time, structured similarly and clocking in at just under 20 minutes each. Both are honed, very strong pieces of charred doom that will collapse mountains if played loud enough. "Mourn" takes a few minutes to climb on clean melancholy before plunging into a very sick series of tremolo attacks, which lose momentum and collapse into a moaning abyss of feedback and down-tuned ugliness.

And then, right when you think its ended a reconstruction begins to take place over top the distant howls, leading into the second side of the tape. "Decedere" opens with another clean reverby passage, the tone a bit different but entirely groovy; accompanied by violins. This is a another wonderful slow build as the tone changes again to almost

Following a silence we start to ascend through mournful chords, before feedback bleeds in to claim the song. The main riff here is mesmerizing, feeling slightly crooked in it's depressive gait, made even more so by the operatic vocals — intensified by a dialed-up pace, altered by tremolos and powerchords to bring the heaviness to higher level. There's a switch midway to some serious fuzzed-out doom trudging (by way of Joe Preston), sampling and noise, a final spiraling push (which has some serious atmospheric black metal characteristics), before lonesome and clean finale.

All of which will sweep you into the darkness guaranteed.

Hell's III is probably a grower for some, as it was for me strangely. I should've liked this immediately but I think the inclusion of operatic vocals put me off instinctively despite enjoying other elements. It could've just been an illogical bout of low expectations. Anyway if you give it a chance it will flatten you.

This is one to check out for sure. Right now the cassette version is sold out, but since every previous release has been pressed on wax I'm assuming this will be too. I would also assume it's going to be Pesanta Urfolk, Gilead Media, Eternal Warfare, or their label Woodsmoke who will press it so watch those for updates. Or buy and stream it on their bandcamp.




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4 comments:

  1. This album is excellent, for doomsters and not only.

    And by the way, spectacular blog as well, you've been added. Cheers \m/

    http://arsoncafe.blogspot.gr/

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  2. god, this blows everyhting this band has done out of the water. one of the best doom albums i've heard in a long time... And to think I was ready to give up on this band.

    Thanks!

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    1. I'm inclined to agree. Not sure why everyone freaked out over the first two albums (though I'm sure it's mostly due to the Woodsmoke affiliation), but this is a solid slab of emotive, powerful doom metal.

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