Australian black/thrash has a damn good reputation across the world and with good reason. Bands such as DESTROYER 666 and ARMOURED ANGEL as well as the multitude of lesser known acts over the years have meant that the region is considered to have a pedigree for this most underground of styles. HELLBRINGER are one of the latest bands to emerge into the light. A three-piece that has an album and EP already out, how does their new album Awakened From The Abyss hold up compared to their previous material and to those of their countrymen?
Opener Fall Of The Cross arrives, following a brief introduction, kicking and screaming. From the word go it is clear this isn’t nice thrash metal, the production is slightly dirty and bass heavy and the vocals are snarled. In short it’s perfect for the music HELLBRINGER create. With riffs and solos dominating the track there is time for a breakdown sure to get heads and fists banging. A great way to open the record. Coven Of Darkness begins with a solo before continuing at the slightly slower pace and with a bit more thrash in the mix. The bass is nicely prominent towards the end of the track as well.
Realm Of The Heretic displays the almost spitted delivery of the vocals that help to define this album as being towards the more extreme end of the thrash genre. Lyrically the album isn’t the most varied but with this style it doesn’t need to be, serving its purpose well. Iron Gates suffers a little from being the middle point of the album and lacking in pace. A slight tempo change redeems the track towards the end but it’s certainly one of the weaker ones on the album. Luckily its followed by Spectre of Rebirth which displays more of the bands quality riffs as well as being slightly faster and allowing the aggression to flow a little more.
The albums title track, Awakened From The Abyss, fades in from the previous tracks fade out which is an interesting way to begin, especially if replicated live. The track certainly feels derivative of certain bands at times but the quality of the riffs redeems this and with no pretence of true originality on the band behalf it’s hard to criticise them for it. Closing track Dark Overseer finishes the album in the same way it has progressed throughout with pounding drums and solid riffs under a snarling vocal performance.
Awakened From The Abyss is not an original album, rather it feels like a homage to the thrash greats of yesteryear. Were this record to have come out between ’83 and ’86 it would have been an impressive milestone in the development of the genre. What it is instead is a slightly different take on the formula and a chance to show that the fire hasn’t died and that HELLBRINGER are still carrying the torch for the old school of thrash metal.
Awakened From The Abyss is out August 19th on High Roller Records
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