Release Date: 17th January 2020
Record Label: Black Mist Records
For Fans Of: Stray From The Path, Gallows
A criticism often cited against artists from all genres is that ‘they take themselves too seriously’. With attention focused on hardcore, it would be fair to say this accusation is somewhat just (cough cough, Code Orange, cough). While it is not intrinsically bad for an act to inhabit a dour and sombre persona, bands who are willing to poke fun at themselves are a ray of light in an often dark scene.
Those not familiar with The Hell won’t take much time realising the band members (of which there are many) keep their tongues placed firmly within their respective cheeks. With the number of musicians present ranging anywhere from six to twelve, all sporting bandannas across their faces to retain anonymity, The Hell are taking aim at tough guy hardcore acts by spouting overly aggressive and boastful lyrics.
After a five year hiatus (most likely due to other projects with which the members are involved), the hardcore collective have returned with a four track EP titled ‘DOOSH’, most likely serving as an appetiser to the main course that will be a new full length album. Opening with the title track (and the runaway strongest track of the release), the left-field influence on the band are more present than ever. Despite there being no debate that this is a hardcore/metal record, the vocal delivery has more in common with a grime/hip-hop artist: strong repetition ending with gang vocals shouting DOOSH (“My Docs go DOOSH, boot to your face and mush goes DOOSH”), different vocalists each taking a verse, and of course a shout out to the producer, one would be let off thinking they’re listening to Boy Better Know performing a Fire in the Booth session.
Unfortunately, the quality slips with the remaining three tracks. Second track ‘Best Around’ demonstrates the lyrical bravado for which the band are known, with the vocals being almost rapped during the verses and sung during the chorus (something this reviewer remembers The Hell once criticising…). The bragging continues on ‘Jump The Fuck Up’, a song that brings the likes of Stray From The Path to mind, and as a result undermines the unique nature of The Hell. Whereas previous tracks have taken an inventive approach to U.K. hardcore, a great deal of DOOSH comes across as derivative. By the time we reach closing track ‘Taste Tha Flava’, it feels like the band have run out of steam, as the chorus (still fully clean) features a lacklustre vocal delivery and nothing particularly memorable from the instrumentation.
While the idea of a piss-take hardcore band sounds good on paper, the execution is something altogether. No matter how funny or cutting the lyrics may be, good songwriting and exciting riffs need to back up the vocal performance, otherwise the joke will fall flat. That said, the title track DOOSH is an absolute banger that no one will be able to resist shouting along with.
Recommended Tracks: DOOSH, Jump The Fuck Up
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