Review: Hell – Curse and Chapter

Ridiculously good.

That is almost enough of a review but I’ll back up my claim and add that this is one of the best metal albums of 2013 by far.

It’s sort refreshing to hear something that isn’t “refreshing.” There are so many bands trying to break away from a classic metal sound that they have now become the boring norm. An album with classic sounding riffs, a healthy slab of Satan and a King Diamond style vocal delivery is a treat in a sea of downtuned open E string chugging.

This isn’t to say this is NWOBHM clone #500 (though considering Hell existed back then, that couldn’t be the case anyway!), Curse And Chapter takes the NWOBHM sound, adds a modern production along with a dash of Mercyful Fate and a enough current influence to make it something unique and special. This is probably why it is one of the best of 2013 for me

The vocals are an obvious highlight, David Bowler sounds like a frantic King Diamond. It’s either a testament to their live show or a testament to the delivery here that you can almost see him racing about the studio in stage gear swinging his arms and props about.

The musicianship is a further highlight with the tastiest riff going to Darkhangel. There are many tasty riffs here, but this is the tastiest of all. The solos, while wanky enough to satisfy, aren’t over the top and compliment the music more than showing off.

Darkhangel itself is a slab of “epic” clocking in at just over seven minutes but with the careful use of choirs and keyboards throughout they manage to achieve an epic feel in many of the songs. Avoiding overusing the choirs/keys gives the effect more strength when it is used allowing the band to bring spectacle to record.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, with its catchy chorus and pounding drum beat stands out as one of the strongest songs on the album along with Darkhangel and The Age Of Nefarious. The Age Of Nefarious you may know from the single of the same title.

Many of you will already be familiar with many of these songs as they appeared in the setlists of the recent tours the band have played, but if you haven’t been lucky enough you’ll be approaching this with fresh ears. Either way it is still excellent, but it’s good to finally hear some of these songs in a studio version.

If you’re a fan of Mercyful Fate you will love this without a shadow of a doubt. It’s bombastic, ridiculous and in a live setting, a good reminder that metal should be delivered with tongues planted firmly in cheek.

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