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Helgrind – Insurrection

Helgrind
Insurrection
by Neil Beardsley at 21 December 2021, 8:17 AM

F**king Helgriiiiiiiiiiiiiind!! \\w/ - Tell Kerry not to bother making that call to Phil as Helgrind have beaten them to it, as these Brit thrashers return after a ten year hiatus with their brand new album ‘Insurrection’. Helgrind have been drawing plenty of Slayer comparisons and its easy to understand why. Vocalist, Paula Nelson, certainly has some of those Araya characteristics, but the band they most remind me of is Italian new wave thrashers Razgate. And believe me that is a huge compliment as their ‘After The Storm…The Fire’ was a definite 2020 highlight in the thrash world.

First, lets do a little bit of housekeeping…It’s no secret that ‘Insurrection’ had been mixed and in the can for some time. It was originally penciled in for a 2017 release but complications with the label and blah blah blah and so here we are 4 years and a remix/recording later. This album also includes the contribution to the songwriting of new guitarist Si Ellis and his influence can clearly be heard. Obviously, ever present, Paula Nelson is heavily involved in the creative side too. So, with that quick potted history its time to press play!!

Its about now that you can cancel the ear syringe appointment you had booked because, from the get go, all the wax in our spud like ears is blown away. ‘Dead Shall Rise’ launches us head first through a plate glass window of thrash and sets the early example of exactly what we can expect. News flash clips with a slow melodic guitar backing builds deliciously before blast off!! Track 2 does not take a step back, moreover, it cranks up the tempo even more and the Razgate feel really takes hold of us. This is a monstrous track with full on neck snapping qualities.

I’ve been fortunate to review 2 very good thrash albums this week, and this is the latter. There are similarities between this and the new Infrared album. Not just that they doff their caps hugely to the 80’s but also in the fact that there’s nothing new or groundbreaking with these releases, nevertheless they’re both aggressive, full of riffs and make you instantly want to windmill and mosh like a broken washing machine. ‘Dead Army’ gives us a slight moment to catch our breathes with a slower paced intro but they’re just playing with us as the tempo kicks in again pretty swiftly. I’d like to report I’ve smiled and nodded through all 3 of the first 3 tracks, tells you everything.

‘Bitter End’ continues the assault on our senses with another relentless paced track but here we get a bit of variation of vocal styles from clean cut to much deeper guttural roars. ‘Not My Enemy’ offers up some really meaty riffs leading to much of the same fast tempo thrash. ‘Breeding Hate’ is the first track that really presents any respite. Sure there’s plenty or aggression still present but as the track progresses on its 5 and a half minute voyage it slows and enters a choral almost symphonic solo with quite beautiful and haunting backing vocals, a real highlight for me. ‘Harvest’, one of the singles from the album returns us back to the fast aggressive narrative of the album before we again have a slight change in style. ‘Raise The Flag’ definitely puts me more in mind of Countdown To Extinction era Megadeth than anything Slayeresque.

We finally arrive at the terminal track of the same name as the band. ‘Helgrind’ is the gate that divides the lands of the living and dead. It begins with a great chugging riff, joined swiftly by some excellent double peddle work then launching into a second satisfying riff. It definitely sees the album out on a slower tempo but ends with an impressive 2 minute ‘ode to the solo’ solo. And there you have it. The old adage says that ‘good things come to those that wait’. Having waited ten years for their latest album its fair to say that this is most definitely true. ‘Insurrection’ is clearly a homage to something older but that is a massive positive. This will certainly score highly on the chainsawometer.

I like thrash, me.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dead Shall Rise
2. Massacre The Suffering
3. Dead Army
4. Bitter End
5. Not My Enemy
6. Breeding Hate
7. Harvest
8. Raise The Flag
9. Helgrind
Lineup:
Paula Nelson – Vocals/Bass
Si Ellis – Guitars
Joe Lyndon – Guitars
Andy Keel - Drums
Record Label: Metal Rocka Recordings
     


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