AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): HELLCRASH — “DEMONIC ASSASSINATION”
When we premiered the second single from the new Hellcrash album in early February we introduced it this way: “It’s time for a rude ‘n’ crude celebration of filth, fury, and fun! Plus sickness, sleaze, and slaughter!”
It seemed like a fitting prelude to the hell-raising experience of Demonic Assassination, which is now racing toward a lavish March 24 release by Dying Victims Productions, but we also observed, for those who might not have encountered the band’s debut album Krvcifix Invertör, that Hellcrash “follow in the cloven-hooved footsteps of such groups as Bulldozer, Slayer, and Venom, whipping up a gnashing and pulse-pounding convulsion of blackened thrash and speed metal”.
And we also pointed out that while all those ingredients revealed in the debut album still make up the high-octane fuel for the new album, Demonic Assassination provides even more variety and an even tighter execution. Today you’ll see what we meant for yourselves, because we’ve got the full album stream for you today.
The album is more than 43 minutes long, divided among a sinister and supernatural Intro track that beckons with hooked claws, a piano-led haunted-house Outro track, and nine proper songs. Almost all of those nine are in the three-to-five-minute range, with an average time that’s around 4:00. The song we premiered previously, “Graveripper“, is almost exactly four minutes in length.
That one wastes almost no time revving up the Hellcrash audio engine to fireball speed, surging into a ripping torrent of rapidly writhing and deliriously exultant riffing, propelled by piston-pumping drums, augmented by rabid vocal madness, and segmented by bursts of skull-smashing groove and double-bass automatic weaponry. We further wrote:
“Madness and mayhem reign in this superheated assault, but the band also execute sharp shifts in the riffing and throw in some tumbling drum booms, as well as sheer soloing delirium. It’s wild, hellish music made for wild, hellish moods, and a sure-fire kickstarter for dozing adrenal glands.”
It’s no wonder that “Graveripper” was chosen as one of the lead singles, because it provides such an explosive preview of what the album as a whole delivers. But it doesn’t tell the whole tale.
The song that opens the album (followng the Intro), “Volcanic Outburst“, is rough, raw, and riotous, but even more supremely sinister in its moods (as well as viciously feral). In a way, it functions as its own kind of prelude to the even more crazed and infernal exhilaration of “Okkvlthammer” (another lead single) and the equally wild and diabolical whirl of “Satan’s Crypt“, which comes next.
By the time that song has finished, it will become thoroughly evident that despite the raucousness of their escapades, Hellcrash have got impressive technical chops and an adventurous approach to songwriting that leads listeners on lots of hair-raising twists and turns (one big twist there is a sorcerous guitar solo that stands out — one of many to be found throughout the record).
To be sure, relentless speed is the name of this game, and a thorough-going devotion to giving the middle finger to anything and everything that tries to put chains on innate human impulses to just let go and let feral instincts take over. Equally, they give a middle finger to the idea of prettying up this kind of music with slick modern production values, though the guitars still have an electrifying ring, and the lights-out quality of the drumwork, the nimbleness of the bass (which also gets soloing opportunities), and the throat-ruining dementia of the vocals aren’t hidden either.
There are a couple of outliers in terms of track-length. The first is “Abyss of Lucifer“, which weighs in at about six minutes. Hellcrash use the extra length not to make any radical shifts in gear but to pack even more glorious guitar extravaganzas and eye-popping drumwork into the mix. It’s also a stand-out example of the band’s facility in seamlessly weaving together strands of thrash, speed metal, punk, and even classic hard rock and heavy metal from arenas of yore. It might be the most head-spinning, heart-pounding song on an album that brings those qualities to the fore over and over again — but it has strong competition from the other longer song.
That other outlier in terms of song-length is the title track, which is the last full song before the brief, spooky Outro track. At nearly eight minutes in length, it gives Hellcrash plenty of room to roam — to be devious and devilish, to be brazen and boisterous, to blow up in maelstroms of fire, to raise glorious banners to the princes of Hell, and to mesmerize with guitar-leads that sound like black magick.
The infernal vocals and jaw-dropping drumwork still have their place, but at its core the song is a guitar tour de force not to be missed. If there were any justice in the world, this is one you’d get to hear in a big arena with plenty of pyrotechnics.
To re-state what probably isn’t necessary to state again, this is the kind of album that will leave many listeners thoroughly exhilarated — and drenched in sweat and gasping if you were to hear it in some packed club rather than an arena — and wouldn’t that be a shitload of fun too?
Dying Victims will release the album on special-edition vinyl, regular vinyl, CD, cassette tape, and digital formats, and you can check out all the options via the links below.
The album comes recommended for fans not only of the influential bands mentioned at the outset but also later GBH, Carnivore, Warfare, Crumbsuckers, and Children of Technology.