WORDS: Tim Redman
GEHENNAH is a ramshackle combination of what it would sound like if VENOM and MOTORHEAD had gotten together during the 80s, done a bunch of speed and washed it down with most of the UK’s supply of beer, before recording the result. Appearing in the early 90s when metal was unpopular to say the least GEHENNAH’s “couldn’t give a fuck” attitude resulted in three refreshingly simple metal albums. After returning triumphantly with 2014’s Metal Police the band has set about recording its first full length in nearly twenty years appropriately titled Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die.
Opener Still the Elite begins with a simple guitar riff before being joined by the rapid rhythm that perpetuates this album. Proclaiming themselves from the off, GEHENNAH show they’ve lost none of their talent for boozy, rocking metal. Life Metal Must Die is up next and continues in the same vein, spitting hate at posers over a simple uncomplicated riff that you have to bang your head along with before a solo rips in. Great stuff. The album’s title track Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die is one of the more standout tracks on offer here. Lyrics that anyone who’s ever had a few beers at a gig can relate too with a chorus made for shouting along with make this song a guaranteed live favourite.
Scumbag rocks along with the trademark catchy simply riff and enjoyably relatable lyrics that GEHENNAH are masters of creating. Gehennah Will Destroy Your Life is the shortest of the thirteen tracks on offer here at just over two minutes and is almost over before it’s begun which is something of a shame. The sixth track on the album Lets Fall Off The Wagon wins the award for most inventive song name and is one of the only tracks without gang vocals on the album, replacing them with a great solo.
‘Cause We’re A Street Metal Band is a track where the bass heavy intro shows that these guys were a VENOM tribute band before creating their own material and that pedigree shows. The track lasts long enough for anyone who hasn’t picked up on it by now to realise that the almost sloppy musicianship is the bands trademark sound and suits them down to the ground. Tonight We Fight blasts in with a catchy riff and a gang shouted chorus to match. GEHENNAH have an attitude and it’s shown here.
When All Else Fails – Destroy! refuses to deviate from the now familiar formula. Another shorter track that wouldn’t feel out of place on Welcome To Hell. Its following number Low On Cash, High On Speed is similar with lyrics that could hardly be more suitable for heavy metal if they tried. We Stole Your Song is another tongue in cheek track that actually slows down for sections, effective on a record this fast. The penultimate track Unholy and Unpleasant is unfortunately only notable for the bass intro as its finds itself sandwiched between two of the better tracks on the album. A forgettable song. The closing track of the album on the other hand All Of The Decadence, None Of The Success is arguably the best track on this album and a perfect metaphor for GEHENNAH’s career. With lyrics that tell their story, laid over a great riff this is the standout track on offer here.
What is there left to say? If you’ve heard GEHENNAH before you know what to expect here. Four drunken Swede’s who worship VENOM singing about metal, beer and smashing things up. You’re not going to find any innovation or progression, and there’s no pandering to trends here. Just good honest old school metal that doesn’t care if you like it or not. Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die proves that GEHENNAH are still the best at what they do.
Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die is set for release on February 12th via Metal Blade Records.