I mentioned in the first post of July that this was the month of Hells Headbangers releases and the two here are brilliant, blasphemous works of art. The first one is the first full-length record from Denial of God in six years and only their second overall despite forming 20 friggin’ years ago. I think most circles consider them black metal but it’s hard to pigeonhole these evil dudes into one genre like that. They play a very unique combo of black, death, doom and traditional heavy metal, with punishing riffs and deathly growls.
Death and the Beyond is actually as interesting lyrically as it is musically, with the entire record telling a story of what happens after you die, seemingly from the perspective of the deceased. The story starts off with a retelling of the “Funeral” and follows with what happens “Behind the Coffin’s Lid.” Soon “Bones Turn To Dust” before the “Pendulum Swings” and the story of the afterlife is complete.
Obviously with a name Denial of God, this is going to be a blasphemous record, telling the story from the perspective of going to hell rather than heaven. But there’s a horror story in here too, something that would make a nice hour long DVD story if they choose to do it. That shouldn’t be surprising either as guitar Azter owns a label called Horror Records and both he and singer Ustamallagam used to be in a Misfits cover band. You can feel a little bit of that Misfits punk vibe throughout the record but for the most part it’s a mixtures of black and doom metal riffs portraying a very dark world.
Two of my favorite tracks on the record (“Behind the Coffin’s Lid” and “Black Dethe”) both use this warbly guitar tone that initially sounded like some kind of White Lion ballad underneath black metal but after a while became more like black hymns to the dead. The whole disc plays out as if you were sitting in the funeral home – or like the cover art, maybe in your attic, conducting a black mass. It’s such a good record that it makes you wonder why these guys don’t put out more than a track or two at a time usually. Death and the Beyond is so good though that you just might still be listening to it in 10 years when they release album #3 to celebrate 30 years as a band.
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I swear to Baphomet that Hells Headbangers aren’t paying me here or anything but it might look like it as I drool all over their releases this month. But as much as I like the Denial of God record, the best release of the four this month has to be At the Mercy of Satan by Satanic Bloodspraying. This is one of those “anonymous” groups that have a shroud of mystery surrounding them and being that this is their debut there isn’t much information out on the web. They are from Bolivia and they play a violent brand of black metal which is being compared strongly to Impaled Nazarene, so strongly in fact that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some connection between the two groups.
With eight tracks clocking in at less than 25 minutes, you know you’re getting music that’s hot, loud and mind-numbingly fast. With their black metal roots, they mix in some speed metal, thrash and a heaping dose of crusty punk all which spew forth some immense hatred in a short time frame. It’s hard not to think about early Slayer listening to the first track titled “Draining Blood.” That’s followed up with a raucous punky track with the lovable title of “Satanic Skullfuck.” Then there’s the South of Heaven like riff to open up “Tetragrammaton” before that turns into a full force headbanger.
At the Mercy of Satan is comprised of blistering riff after blistering riff and as any great record should, makes you want to run out and buy a copy, see them live and force them to record their next album right now. This is certainly one of the best albums of the year in any genre of metal.
Albums currently on the potential best of 2012 list:
Baroness, Yellow & Green
Christian Mistress, Possession
Denial of God, Death and the Beyond
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Human Toilet, Human Toilet
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock To the Land
Mongrels Cross, The Sins of Aquarius
OSI, Fire Make Thunder
Satanic Bloodspraying, At the Mercy of Satan
Terrorizer, Hordes of Chaos
Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Primum
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light