Based in Italy, Everlasting Spew Records is quickly becoming one of the most exciting underground, extreme metal record labels in Europe. With underground hidden diamonds such as VALGRIND, ENGULF and MAZE OF SOTHOTH all adorning Everlasting Spew’s roster, there is a sense that this label is starting to become a serious player in the ongoing revival of old-school death metal – and their newest offering, The Evil Emanations from countrymen HELLISH GOD, certainly supports this.
The Evil Emanations is the debut full-length from HELLISH GOD, following their 2016 self-released EP Impure Spiritual Forces. On offer with The Evil Emanations is a short, up-tempo blast of pure ‘90s death metal in the vein of MORBID ANGEL or HATE ETERNAL. The revival of pure old-school death metal has been exploited almost to the point of over-saturation – but there are still bands who, a) deliver death metal that, while unoriginal, absolutely crushes, and b) bring something fresh to the old-school death metal subgenre. HELLISH GOD definitely fall into the former – there is nothing fresh about The Evil Emanations, but that doesn’t mean it is anything less than a crushing slab of well-executed, old-school brutality.
On an initial listen, it’s easy for The Evil Emanations to pass you by in a flurry of blast beats and brutality. The pure old-school worship on display is short and to the point, wasting little time and energy on atmosphere. But with further listens, and taking the time to delve into each track individually, there is a lot of brilliance on display. The short intro track was driven by a simple organ, but immediately created a haunting, sinister atmosphere – it would have been really interesting to see the organ incorporated further throughout the album, carrying the atmosphere passed the intro track. Anti-Cosmic Decree was the first single to be released from The Evil Emanations, and stands as one of the records best tracks. Hints of black metal riffing, and a subtle use of a more blackened vocal style used sparingly throughout the song gave Anti-Cosmic Decree depth, and allowed it to stand out a little from the bombardment of pure death metal.
Both coming in at under three minutes, two of The Evil Emanations other stand-out tracks keep it short and to the point – Burning The Infidel and Agitator Shall Be Triumphant! Featuring a short but sweet guest appearance from Brazilian shredder Rangel Arroyo (ABHORRENCE), Burning The Infidel keeps things simple with a slice of pure, brutalising aural savagery. Agitator Shall Be Triumphant! features a little more groove than has been displayed previously on the record, bringing a sense of swagger to the seemingly unstoppable butchery. Arguably the strongest song on display across the whole album, however, is Marching With The Accuser. The longest song on The Evil Emanations, Marching With The Accuser has a little more room to develop and grow than the other tracks on the record, and it definitely benefits from that development. Returning to the slightly blackened sound that was hinted on Anti-Cosmic Decree and bringing a down-tempo, more crushing section around the middle of the track left it as one of the most memorable songs on the album.
It would be hard to describe HELLISH GOD‘s debut as anything other than a well-executed slab of thoroughly enjoyable old-school death metal, with several monstrously good tracks that would give the genre’s veterans a run for their money. However, with so many near-exceptional albums dropping across death metal as a whole, The Evil Emanations feels a little uninspired. If HELLISH GOD could enhance the blackened death metal elements hinted at in points across the album, and showcase a consistent atmosphere similar to what was displayed in the intro track, they would be onto a winning formula. At present, what we have is a strong, well-executed offering that unfortunately lacks that special something to make it truly memorable.
The Evil Emanations is out now via Everlasting Spew Records.
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