For Fans Of
The point was made very clearly after current studio album ‘Black Mass’ dropped in 2011 – This Is Hell have thrash cascading through their passionate musical veins. The hardcore flavour is still mixed in, but this is a band unashamedly and confidently doing things the way they want…and right now that intent seems targeted at dense riffs, driving rhythms and adamant delivery.
Has the listener stepped back to the early 80’s Bay Area? Four track EP ‘The Enforcer‘ is exactly what you want in an EP – short, sharp and simple in purpose – leave the extended substance for a full length. The offering is bookended by an instrumental opening and a raging cover of Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ classic ‘Whiplash’, with two new tracks thrown in between for good measure.
It doesn’t last long, but ‘The Enforcer’ requires very limited analysis. Play it loud and play it frequently.
With This Is Hell currently preparing their fifth studio album, this EP gives an intermittent appetiser that continues (in a small dose) the themes and styles the aforementioned ‘Black Mass’ revelled in. The music is fast, the sound clear and everything else well positioned.
‘Flag of the Serpent’ is an honest opening. An instrumental moment clocking in at just over a minute, which has a classic, mid-tempo structure.
‘The Enforcer’ won’t be totally foreign to the ears, with the track unveiled previously. It’s again a thrash/hardcore crossover. The riffs take main prominence here.
‘Walking Abominations’ varies slightly from the previous track. The rhythm flows and changes instead of relying on a blast beat intensity. The tone is less intense but loses nothing in the way of impact.
Let’s face it, while fans and the neutral observers like the potential of hearing new material, the inclusion of Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’ was always going to reduce the casual metal head to an excited adolescent, eager to hear This Is Hell’s take on things. While open for debate and while equally acknowledging the cover was never going to match (or better) the original, This Is Hell’s version is capable, contemporary and engaging. It’s a car stereo jam if nothing else.
This Is Hell receive credit but still feel largely underrated in a larger sense. Put the beers on hold at Soundwave for an hour or so early in the day and give This Is Hell the attention they deserve.
‘The Enforcer’ is unapologetic and bold. Sure, it’s only four tracks and does not contain a lot of lengthy variety, but the brief affair is developed, polished and quite slick. If this is a precursor or neat preview, something tells us the band’s forthcoming studio album might feature in many end of year ‘best of’ lists.
1. Flag of the Serpent
2. The Enforcer
4. Whiplash (Metallica cover)