Release Date: 17/01/2020
Record Label: Self-Released
For Fans Of: Slayer, Testament, Judas Preist
Somehow, straight up thrash-metal seems pretty hard to come by today. Most modern thrash bands seem to be far closer to toeing the line of the classic crossover acts; incorporating hardcore and other styles to the mix. Sometimes, it is nice to be able to listen to something new that is unashamedly and totally thrash fucking metal. Sometimes, it’s nice to have bands like Helldown.
In Deaths Hands is four tracks and thirteen minutes of thunderous riffs and buzzsaw guitar solos which will surely scratch the itch for anyone looking to add a little more metal madness to their life. ‘The Unmannned’ sets out Helldown’s stall straight away as they unleash their twin-guitar attack and show exactly why metal has such enduring power. The general pattern for all the songs here is simple. Get in, bash out some riffs, throw a guitar solo in there and get back out again. Job done. It’s a formula that has been done to death by now in all honesty, but It works. ‘Mortal Shell’ is easily the strongest song here with by far the most powerful feel and is somewhat close to the unrelenting fury of Slayer with a little more of the majesty of Priest thanks to the classic rock sounding solos.
The only thing that really lets Helldown down here is the vocal performance, it is definitely a minor gripe, but although the growls do a perfectly serviceable job they do lack a little more bite and the vocal patterns themselves do all seem to blend together somewhat. Even in the earliest of thrash’s days when you think of the iconic songs, it’s those vocal hooks which really managed to set them apart, (it’s a hell of a high bar, but just think about ‘Hit the Lights’). If Helldown can nail that then they will have the perfect platform to build upon.
It is wonderful to know that there are still bands like Helldown coming through who are above all pretense and just want to play metal, sometimes it really is that simple. It may not offer anything new, but if you’re looking to start your new year with some metal from the underground then you will not be disappointed by In Deaths Hands.