Band: Various Artists
Title: Sounds of Hell Series Vol.I
Label: Hell Awaits Cafe
Very cool idea coming from this rock (live) club from Diest, Belgium, gathering all sort of friend-bands on this first volume of their compilation CD series Sounds of Hell. I guess these are all bands that have been playing at the club now and then, and this idea is both great for them as it will spread their name, and for the club as more bands and fans will hear about the club.
Let's get to the compilation itself; we're treated with 18 tracks in almost 80 minutes of playing time, and here they are:
Devil's Bargain - a band founded in 2013 and with two studio albums underbelt playing Melodic Heavy Metal inspired by Iron Maiden, Helloween or Accept, maybe even some older pure Rock on the sides; nice track, nothing special but not bad either
Noord - trio from Antwerp that says they play a "unique and refreshing" Metal style, but honestly I don't hear anything new and refreshing here, it's just a light, simplistic Heavy Thrash with annoying vocals that try much more than they are capable of; sorry, the track is weak, but hearing how they brag over it is becoming a joke
Vloed - another trio blending various Metal styles for a result that's quite melodic, not very technical and quite catchy with a drummer that makes most of the band's sound; this track also has a female (well, an underage girl by the sound of her voice) as guest, which is a nice touch after all
Wound Collector - believe it or not, this band was founded by a saxophonist and it plays straight-forward old-school Death Metal but with delicious sax inserts, probably the first Death Metal band with saxophone I hear. The band has 2 albums out by now, I'll go check them out for sure
Collapsed - "we play fast and loud" - yes, they do! A mix between Hardcore and Thrash Metal, fast and old-school to the bone, pretty sick, full of potential!
Belua - I hear a ton of System of a Down influences here, at least on this track the band is nothing less than a failed SoaD copy with bad production; sorry, I barely made it to the end... with a good production they might be decent though
Rages of Sin - pretty sick sounding old-school Melodic Death Metal quartet; don't expect cheesy, light stuff here, the band sounds heavy as a sledge-hammer and the track turns into frantic Black Death Metal by the end, the production is killer, too, what else can I say, if their other tracks are as good, this is yet another band I definitely have to check out, they have just released their debut album last year
Svarthart - quartet from Antwerp playing slow, simplistic (very close to puerile), old-school Doom Death with weak, demo-sounding quality recording; well, at least it sounds organic, but that's not enough. Hope their other material is better as they have 2 full-length albums out, they should sound more mature than this
Behind Bars - quartet from the same city playing a mix of Hardcore, Thrash and Groove Metal; the result is pretty tight, catchy and excellent for live shows I bet, not for nothing they have opened for bands like Madball, Pro Pain or Sepultura. Mid-tempo to fast paced in your face Metal music with semi-growling but understandable vocals and excellent production
Criminal Judge - a band that was active in the major part of the '90's releasing some demos and a couple of EPs, now back to work and planning new material; old-school Thrash Metal mixing early Metallica with '90's Pantera, interesting stuff mostly for nostalgics of the era, but avoid if you're looking for originality
Solifugia - quintet from Ghent playing old-school Death Metal with raging vocals; rhythms are covering a wide territory ranging from slow (barely moving) to fast. When the band is slow, even mid-tempo it's really bad, barely listenable, but when they get to a faster pace they actually sound good. The production is bad as well, don't like it at all. There is some potential in this band though
Bacon Fat - experienced band with two decades of activity and no less than 5 albums underbelt, so it's obvious we're talking another level. Even if they are playing a light music, Boogie Rock'n'Roll it's clear they know the game and can easily get you on their side from the first sounds
Promise Down - quartet delivering fun and catchy Hard Rock mixed with Rock'n'Roll, dirty and organic sounding, pretty cool, I bet you can't stop to only a beer at their shows
Splendidula - uh, that's some heavy stuff right here, Splendidula play some sort of groovy Sludge Doom Metal spilling all over and easily invading other territories without shame; the main vocals of the band are female vocals (reminding me of Mike Patton's versatility), supported by raging male screams at some point. Mature band with a mature sound; they have just released their third album
Hunter - wow, killer, pure golden era Heavy Metal, a cross between Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with an excellent vocalist, clever song construction and catchy structures, but with a weak production from my point of view. The band is a killer!
The Bullet Dodgers - man, these guys are even faster, more on the Judas Priest side than others, maybe a mix with Motorhead I'd say. Catchy stuff!
Ten Ton John - mid-tempo groovy, thrashing, semi-melodic Metal with raging vocals, quite catchy structures, an ok production; despite the band name that I hate, the music is pretty rad, I think the band is full of potential, all of them seem to have something special to say with their instruments, they sound really talented and seasoned at the same time
Loco-Motive - American sounding Hard Rock with a groovy Rock'n'Roll core and Metal edge, tight sounding and catchy structured
That was it, 18 bands that sound very different one from the other, a perfect compilation from this point of view, you're always in a surprise mode. Sorry I've been so harsh on some, but when you get such a compilation you can actually judge the differences between bands easier, and at the same time you don't have the time to "get into" the bands atmospheres like in albums cases, the first impression is also the lasting impression.
Apparently the club is gearing up for a follow-up compilation, interested bands get in touch, it's well worth it! The CD comes in digipak format with an A5 size 12 pages booklet/zine with info on all bands. Cool!
Reviewed by Adrian