If reports from the early ’90s are accurate, Sweden’s Gehennah stuck out like like a sore thumb in the metal scene (more like a mangled and bleeding thumb) when they first started churning out their raw, raucous, and alcohol-fueled concoction of speed metal and blackened thrash — or at least that’s what we might call it today, because did anyone use the term “blackened” in 1992? The fearless Primitive Art Records discharged their first album Hardrocker in 1995, and that was followed by King of the Sidewalk and Decibel Rebel on the Osmose label.
The party faltered for a stretch of years until the band came out with an anniversary EP in 2003 (appropriately titled 10 Years of Fucked Up Behavior), and then the well seemed to run dry again for another decade — until Gehennah surfaced from a sea of beer cans and whiskey bottles to release the Metal Police EP in 2014. That’s when I discovered them for the first time — for me, it was an immediate grabber, a jet-fueled black/thrash romp with killer riffs, killer soloing, and killer caustic vocals. The alcohol content of my blood went up just from listening to it.
I guess I wasn’t the only one, because that EP led Metal Blade to embrace the band, and on February 12 the label will release the first Gehennah full-length in almost 20 years — Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die.