St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Look, a post! And a review of a new release, to boot. Don’t lose your shit over this.
HELL (UK) – Curse & Chapter
Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: November 26, 2013
In three words: Flamboyant, Satanic NWOBHM.
What kills: Clean and skilled guitar work is the main draw; the approach is classic metal with touches of occult rock. The production shines brightly and helps these songs work where needed, which for Curse & Chapter is unfortunately rare. Some great riffs get absolutely ruined from time to time, which is to say at least they have some riffs to ruin.
What rots: HELL’s entire presentation is based around cutesy wordplay (think CRADLE OF FILTH) delivered by a drunken English schoolmaster. That’s it. That this bleeds into the songwriting so strongly (“The Age of Nefarious” — LOL, get it? Sing it a few times to yourself) is unforgivably bad. Very little here comes across as occult or even remotely dark. What remains ends up sounding like a gaudy rock opera including the insertion of keyboard choirs, moog and synthesized piano for seemingly no reason.
What matters: You can tell HELL wrote this album with some care, but it’s hard to care a wit about it under the weight of their kitschy theatrics. Stick to SATAN for true return-to-form NWOBHM, or KING DIAMOND circa Abigail for anything even remotely in the style HELL is attempting. Or QUEEN if the fruity English thing is your bag.
Tell me more: Andy Sneap plays on this, as he also did on HELL’s 2011 “debut.” SABBAT is pretty cool.
Disclaimer: I didn’t like their last album for the same reasons mentioned above. If you liked it, you’ll be fine here. And I still love you.
If I didn’t totally destroy your hopes for this one, Curse & Chapter will be available at Into the Void Records USA this coming Tuesday.
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