HELLBUTCHER – Hellbutcher (Album Review)

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Black/thrash metal is arguably the metal movement that is most proud of its roots and enjoys paying tribute to the sound that bands like Venom and Bathory influenced in the 80s. There is a search for that original wild and boundless purity that these core bands had and that is what makes releases like this one so special. Of course, there is room for evolution and out-of-the-box ideas, Hellripper showed that side of the genre in all its magnificence on their fantastic album last year. That’s why when a band takes the more direct stylistic route the first thing that comes to my mind is to appreciate their bravery because I consider that one of the hardest things to do is to take a direction with little room for variation that has been done so many times before and still manage to stand out with it.

Well, Hellbutcher really exceeds in this, not in vain although it is a debut album the musicians of the band are true veterans of the Swedish extreme scene. Led by the eponymous Hellbutcher, vocalist of the now-extinct classic band Nifelheim, one of the bands that best embodied a sound inherited from the early Bathory albums while maintaining a style of their own. Adding great musicians like Martin Axenrot (Bloodbath, ex-Opeth) or Eld (Gaahls Wyrd) this band picks up the torch from Nifelheim to continue assaulting and carrying the black/thrash sound of Northern Europe in a year where we have already had pearls of the genre like the debut of Demonslaught 666 or the return of the legends Sabbat (Japan).

Hellbutcher do with their sound and it was no accident, this debut album really feels like a perpetual sonic assault, every song feels like a war anthem, furious, straightforward, never looking back. There are riffs for days and they are all mercilessly displayed, the formula is one, and, indeed, they don’t go outside of it, but one of the things that amazes me the most when I listen to it is how they manage to make each of the songs feel special, they manage to capture utter energy from the very first notes that can grab anyone. An energy so powerful that it manages to recreate a very rare aspect of a studio album, and at times the band’s energy is so strong as to convey the same as it would have a live act, you would feel yourself banging your head as you feel the delivery of each note form on your face.

“Hellbutcher” Album Artwork

And speaking of the delivery, Hellbutcher‘s as a vocalist is fantastic, all the charisma and power he gives off in each of his moments is totally unmatched, being one of those pillars of the “live” energy that I mentioned before. All along the long play, you can appreciate a mastery in each of the sections, in the aforementioned energy, in the songwriting, in the production, and on the performances. One could say that you can detect a feeling of professionalism in the work that Metal Blade Records offers us, but I think it’s not so much that but rather that you can really appreciate how the musicians have a passion for the music they are making. It’s a hard thing to explain because it’s more something you feel when you listen to it rather than something tangible, but still one can see that everything surrounding the music on this album shows an absolute commitment to what they do.

Thinking of songs that I can highlight I am faced with the problem that I find all the tracks to be outstanding, I can’t emphasize enough how much this album gains when listened to from start to finish (which is simply done in 30 minutes) and how the fact that you get caught up in one track will make you love the rest. And even if you’re someone not really into extreme metal I think this is an accessible album thanks to its clear crystal production, maybe some purists will be put off by the lack of rawness (it’s the only thing I could criticize the album for) but that sound works very well with the Dissection-esque melodic leads, producing a melodicism that far from making everything sound prettier what it does is reinforce a sense of evil in the guitar strings. It seems at times that witchcraft and evil forces are the only explanations for why this album sounds so good from start to finish.

Released By: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: May 31st, 2024
Genre: Blackened Heavy Metal

Musicians:

  • Hellbutcher / Vocals
  • Necrophiliac / Guitar
  • Iron Beast / Guitar
  • Eld / Bass
  • Devastator / Drums

Hellbutcher” Track List:

  1. The Sword of Wrath
  2. Perdition
  3. Violent Destruction
  4. Hordes of the Horned God
  5. Death’s Rider
  6. Possessed by the Devil’s Flames
  7. Satan’s Power
  8. Inferno’s Rage

Order HellbutcherHERE.

8.6 Excellent

Hellbutcher storms the realm of black/thrash metal with a strong and direct debut effort, one that takes no prisoners and absolutely pulls no punches. A fresh yet classic approach, delivered by passionate musicians who have spent years perfecting their craft, each track is explosive and rampant, leaving no moment to catch your breath

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8
  • Production 8.5
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