THIS IS HELL "Black Mass" Rise Records
Listening and listening to this repeatedly, This is Hell have taken the best parts of little Anthrax intros and and Megadeth riffs and mood and infused it into their sound. While Riegn Supreme, Blacklisted, and Carpathian became indistinguishable and monotonous (at least to me) in the Deathwish doldrums, This Is Hell has clearly gone in a whole different direction since Sundowning. I loved SD, Misfortunes and cripplers; but Warbirds is truly hit me in the face, despite only being 3 original songs. Well This album fully embrace what was only hinted at in their last full length.
This comes to us via Rise Records. Known for bigger bands than i listen to - with a sound that is known to all the kiddies out there; i am not here to slag them - i just don't listen to their bands. But if they can launch TIH even further - cool. Cuz even if just one kid buys this due to Rise releasing it; and that kid likes it and checks a review - maybe they pick up some NYHC or old thrash titan lp they other wise would not have. Anyway - i guess my point is do not be fooled what i may usually dismiss as a label of new school emo or screamo or whatever the fuck tag gets placed on those repetitive riff formulaic bands (save HWM and Piebald - who i do not like, but respect - and the Earache Your Demise).
anyway - on to This is Hell's new powerhouse of a release - a taut open riff leads into a few dive bombs and the just a fast beat of hardcore fury and angry vocals kick in with sing a long parts. Some ill Inhuman type stomp of a chorus pounds through to verse 2. Chorus 2 ends with a bouncing drum part and some squibblidoo guitars. A perfect mesh of thrash and HC for the mosh. The songs continues for two more sections before a it coalesces into a grandiose finish that will get the crowd walking over each other to chant.
The next two songs "Black History" and "Salt the Earth" are my favorites. These songs are brutal. "BH" is based on a hardcore two-step beats intermittent with thrash moments leaves this behemoth in my head all day long. The little cymbal dings and double bass quips with a catchy and bitter chorus is unavoidable. "years of abuse, Years of being used - we are a bomb and you lit the fuse"....so good. "StE" comes right in with metal stomps and then jumps into a decimating scream. this song is fast as hell and still leaves enough legible lyrics and finger pointing parts for the HC kids to indulge. A hesitant breakdown tease right before verse 2 is my favorite. Again - a huge demonic brooding part with Travis screaming "Chaos surrounding me - unleash the beast and set me free - the time has come to settle the score - its time to let the blood pour!"
"Mi Nombre" is another favorite. The lyrics are all about the stifling economy, and more so - the separation of classes that has plagued this country for decades. Defeated, exhausted and distrustful are the main emotions conveyed in this song. Musically it is a 2:30 sprint that brings back the speed and treachery of the opening of this LP.
Other Joints like "The Last Outlaw" "Black Mass and "The Reckoning" are mid tempo metal stomps that will get the headbanging - but you can definitely get some picking up change in. While "the Wars pt II" and the 1:28 bass fueled "Demons" will just clear the dance floor. it comes in on a runaway train and breaks down to a two-step part that rules.
All throughout this LP, i believe that the listener gets a hardcore album that has supplemented the great attributes of thrash metal. It really does balance out perfectly. Production wise - its clean and thick and well done. Reminds me of a Municipal Watse album. Or a Zeuss produced album - while avoiding the stiffness that it rendered to Terror on Underdogs. *(but helps bands like Full Blown Chaos). So Yes, FBC, Terror, Throwdown, Hatebreed, Sworn Enemy level music and production. Loose and quick and full sounding.
Great lyrics fuel the enmity and vengeance sought in the spirit of the greats, similar to Cold As Life "Declination of Independence" and Palehorse. The powers that be are not fooling This Is Hell. They want justice. And Blood. The cover art reflects this as well. A rotten, corpse of the Statue of Liberty with snakes for arms and impaled by an evil arrow. This country has many secrets. Those secrets glimpse the government's agenda of keeping you and me down and suffering. TIH wish to eviscerate that plan.
So, for me, these lyrics are great. i still believe that HC/punk?OI/Metal etc can still produce change; that it can be a movement. This world is fucked. Its priorities are poisoned. Humanity is rather hopeless on the whole. But if we can alert those that will listen, then maybe our little corner can be better than the rest. And with TIH's talk of the bigger picture and the government's role in our plight, i applaud this thinking. i didn't need another lp of cliches spinning on my turntable.
STANDOUTS: "Black History", "Salt the Earth", "The Wars Pt I", "Last Outlaw", "Acid Rain", "Demons" ...there is not a bad one on here. they really all stand out
Buy It at RevHQ