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Tuesday 3 December 2013

Reviews: Hell, Ghost, Switchblade

Hell: Curse And Chapter (Nuclear Blast)

The re-activated Hell have returned with their second album and their first of original material. (The first album was made up of songs that had been around since their first incarnation in the 1980's) so could they have as much impact as their debut did? The answer is yes, without changing very much the band have managed to create another album of top quality British heavy metal that draws from the NWOBHM as well as the proto-thrash (seen in guitarist Andy Sneap's original band Sabbat). Sneap and Kev Bower bring the riffs with every song chock full of their breakneck and chunky riffage as well as some massive solos, backed by the percussive onslaught of Tim Bowler and the bass attack of Tony Speakerman see the opening of Deliver Us From Evil, again the band's main piece-de resistance is singer David Bower who's theatrical banshee-like delivery is what separates them from the rest of the NWOBHM worshiping crowd. The opening track Age Of Nefarious has a great riff and rips off the peace and love anthem Age Of Aquarius in the chorus. The riffs fly thick and fast on The Disposer Supreme, the heavy stomp of Darkhangel is next and is the longest and most progressive song on the album Harbinger Of Death is the most NWOBHM song the album full of duelling guitar riffs. The keys come on strongly for the opening of the instrumental Deathsquad which moves into the Macbeth inspired Something Wicked This Way Comes. In this humble reviewers opinion if Hell hadn't faced so much adversity in their early career they could have been as big as Maiden, however they are not resting on their past victories they are pushing forward with some high quality British Heavy Metal. This album is a must for any true metal fan. Go! Buy It! Now! 10/10      

Ghost: If You Have Ghost (Universal)

Ghost have slowly but surely taken over the word through word of mouth, great live presence and celebrity endorsement, Phil Anselmo and James Hetfield to name two. This is a covers EP and can be seen as a stop gap between albums, it also serves as a way for Ghost to expand their remit a little tackling songs that are not necessarily of their genre. The album opens with a cover of psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson's If You Have Ghosts which is suited perfectly to Ghost's cod-occult delivery with blasting organs and riffing guitars and Papa's vocodered vocals. This is followed the most evil ABBA have ever sounded as the band storm through the creepy I'm A Marionette. It's here I'll mention the production which is sterling proving once again that Dave Grohl is a man of many talents as he handles the production duties on this EP. Army Of Lovers' Crucified is next and the album is rounded off by an organ drenched, fuzzed guitar version of Depeche Mode's Waiting For The Night. The live version of Secular Haze is not really much of an addition, but this is a nice package for a completest and serves its purpose as a stopgap. 7/10 

Switchblade: Heavy Weapons (Killer Metal Records)

Switchblade are metal band from Israel and they play metal that is straight out of the early 80's, the killer riffage, the pounding drums, the retro production and the Dickinson-esque vocals. This is the music Maiden was writing on the first three albums. The band are not reinventing the wheel, but they are carrying on a legacy like Enforcer, Grand Magus and Holy Grail, a legacy of NWOBHM inspired pounding metal full of face melting solos and shout along choruses. All of the band are equally talented with the rhythm section of Sascha Latman (bass) and Moshe "Moshpit" Sabach (drums) anchoring the metallic riffs of guitarist Federico "FedeRock" Taich and the siren-like vocals of Lior "Steinmetal" Stein who sounds uncannily like Bruce Dickinson. Yes the songs are your general metal fodder of fantasy, war (title track), women (Metalista) and leather and the production is authentically 80's e.g. slightly thin but this just makes the band sound more like the real thing. they do shake up their sound a little bit with the instrumental The Lost Kingdom which goes down the power metal route a bit with its synth backing As a debut this is a pretty good one filled with some fist pumping metal anthems, one massive metal ballad (Lost Lovers Unite) and enough old-school nostalgia to bring out the harlequin spandex, bullet belts and white trainers! 8/10

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