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Hell-Born – Natas Liah Award winner

Natas Liah
by Ricardo “Lebzul” Brenes at 28 March 2021, 5:25 PM

“I am the devil, and I am here to do the devil’s work”. Polish cult act Hell-Born returns 12 years after their latest full-length offering “Darkness”. For the old-school metalheads who have followed the genre long enough to know this band from its roots back in 1996, this album must prove to be worth the wait.

At first, I felt like in a state of new discovery, like I would have to rediscover them on this album and somehow, I did, I had to let it grow a bit on me, listen to the lyrics better and remember details, see the band as it is now and where it wants to go from here.

I love it when Black Metal albums start with fury as this one does, including some melodic riffing to paint everything full black. Baal’s vocals are known to be more Death Metal oriented than high-pitched or raspy screaming, along with the rather thrashy/melodic riffing create an interesting mix and balance of styles, all encompassed by the aura of pure malevolence and darkness. “When You are God” delivers that fury from the start, with a particular sound that bears the mark of the traditional old-school that was heavily influenced by the sounds of Thrash and Death Metal while “Axis of Decay” is more focused on melodic riffing and constant blast beats, so much more melodic BM oriented almost all the way to the end, with pretty powerful closing lyrical lines. Lyrics are quite easy to understand on most of the album which is also something I enjoy, simple, direct, blasphemous.

“Ye Olde Woods Devil” is a bit more mid-paced, love the melodic start of this songs and the overall feeling it transmits, the nice way in which DM and BM elements blend perfectly and how this song ends in total heaviness. Such is the case with “Son Of Man” which definitely has much more of a Satanic Death Metal sound approach.

All along the album you feel like in a time-machine, production wise I’ll have to say that it is most likely exactly how they wanted it to be; nothing is overproduced here, it is raw without intending to sound dirty as a lot of old-school BM bands intend to with disastrous results. But you can clearly find out the influences from the roots of evil, bands like SODOM that had such a big influence in the Black metal sound of the initial years, an influence you can clearly find in the beginning of “Uroboros”, a track that shows so many different aspects of the band’s ability to move from one range of the musical spectrum to another without any disturbance in the balance, closing with a beautiful melodic soloing section, I also sensed that SODOM influence as I found myself headbanging to the chorus part of “Soulrape” which reminded me of “Baptism of Fire” by the German trio.

The album closes with “Blakk Metal”, and as you can expect, this is full into Black Metal mode, including keyboards. Backing vocals by Nergal are a sign of the strong bond within the musicians and with their roots and history together. Perhaps some of that time altogether left a mark in their sound somehow. Nice album, it does grow on you with every listen. Black is the heart of metal!

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  10
Production:  9

5 Star Rating

1. When You Are God
2. Axis of Decay
3. Ye Olde Woods Devil
4. Uroboros
5. The Butcher
6. Son of Earth
7. In God’s Death
8. Soul Rape
9. Blakk Metal
Baal Ravenlock – Vocals & Bass
Les – Guitars
Diabolizer – Drums
Record Label: Odium Records


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