May 042013

Many of our readers are intimately familiar with Hells Headbangers, but for those who aren’t, it’s an online distro and record label specializing in death, black, thrash, grind, doom, and heavy metal. As a label, Hells Headbangers is home to a tremendous line-up of slaughtering bands, many of whom we’ve featured here at NCS. This morning I discovered that HH has made available a free summer comp of music from many of those bands. The comp consists of 20 tracks and includes brand new songs from forthcoming albums by Midnight, Witch Cross, Profanatica, and Impiety.

The comp also comes with artwork drawn by Antichrist Kramer as an homage to Slayer’s debut album Show No Mercy. The timing is coincidental, but it now seems like a fitting tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman. (There’s a track on the comp listed as a Slayer song . . . but it’s really Vomitor.)

The comp is available as a free digital download on Bandcamp, and HH says a double-LP and a CD version will be coming soon.

I’ve been blasting this shit this morning, and it’s awful strong. Links are after the jump, along with the new tracks and the complete album stream. Continue reading »

Sep 032012

(In this post, BadWolf reviews the forthcoming Hells Headbangers compilation of Midnight’s entire pre-Satanic Royalty back catalogue.)

Midnight came seemingly out of nowhere last year with their debut Satanic Royalty. Clocking in at just over thirty minutes, the album roared out of the gates, dazzled with its compelling mix of old-school black metal, D-beat, and classic cock rock, then ended too quickly. I loved it—as did many others, judging by Midnight’s announced slot at Maryland Deathfest—and if I’d heard it before the holiday season, it would most certainly have wormed into my end-of-year lists. I await tis sequel with bated breath.

But Satanic Royalty was hardly Midnight’s first release. The Cleveland three-peice has been releasing music in splits, demos, singles, and EP’s since 2003, and now all of that early material (minus a Quiet Riot cover) is available in one convenient package: Complete and Total Hell. And while it hardly feels like the rock-solid sequel to Satanic Royalty, it serves as a convenient appetizer—the prequel to the sequel, if you’ll pardon my reference.

Complete and Total Hell flows well as an album, even though it is a compilation. “Funeral Bell” opens with some Bathory-style atmosphere, and then the record pumps out track after track of chunky and distorted riffs. The early tracks sound like they were recorded straight to cassette in a basement over a boombox—which they may have been. The raw recording works in their favor since the songs emerge from simple building blocks. As the record progresses you can actually hear more and more money flow into Midnight’s recording—the guitar solos clear up, the bass rumbles deeper, until the music breaks into jangly boogie rock on “Berlin is Burning,” over an hour later. Yes, an hour; where Satanic Royalty was brief, Complete and Total Hell is overlong. Continue reading »