Yesterday in town I picked up, amongst other things, a copy of Hellfire Reign by Hang the Bastard – and it is excellent. As the band’s description on their record label website (more on this below) states: “You’ve heard all the individual elements (hardcore breakdowns, lumbering stoner riffs, fast thrash attacks) before, but you’ve never heard it combined like this.”
From the crushing instrumental doom intro Acid Bath Vampire, replete with psyched out synth courtesy of James of Rolo Tomassi fame all the way through to the Slayer- and Black Sabbath-fuelled riffs, all layered with throat-shredding confessional howls and defiant bellows, this release is truly brutal. Not in any kind of bullshit trendy beatdown sense, but real, raw brutality – this CD comes on like a hurricane of razor blades and leaves no survivors. The album also features guest vocals from Nick of Dead Swans and draped in gorgeously sinister artwork by Raf Wechterowicz (as you can see above).
This release came out on the Holy Roar record label, home of such vital bands of the UK underground as Crocus and Maths (whom I have had the pleasure of playing with) as well as the legendary, now sadly defunct Cutting Pink With Knives, Throats and Tortuga. Aside from being mildly devastated to learn of the demise of these last few bands, the label really is going strong with more new releases all the time, all the absolute cream of the crop. Check them out: