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Sins of the Damned - Striking the Bell of Death

Sins of the Damned
Striking the Bell of Death
by Sean McGuirk at 15 May 2019, 4:36 AM

Chile’s SINS OF THE DAMNED worship metal’s old school underground, and have come forth with their debut full-length album, “Striking the Bell of Death,”  which is being put out by Shadow Kingdom Records, one of the finest purveyors of traditional metal going today. There is distinct NWOBHM feel to the record, taking a punk based early-IRON MAIDEN approach with plenty of palm-muted triplets and tremolo-picked melodies. There’s a full dose of speed metal in there as well, no doubt, with the band taking their name from US speed metallers SAVAGE GRACE.

“Striking the Bell of Death” starts like a reference to that classic LA band’s classically inspired instrumental opener “Lions Roar.”  “They Fall and Never Rise Again,” continues with a minor key melody that illustrates the song’s title. It’s an up-tempo, but not blazing fast thrash anthem with a chorus that begs audience participation. “Take The Weapons” is a RAZOR-like melodic thrash fest that recalls the classic “Take This Torch,” possibly explaining the vocalist’s nom-de-plume, Razor.

Coming from Chile, they sing about what they know, and that is the state of Santiago, which bassist, Noisemaker, has described as a “hostile place to live” with drugs, poverty and violence an open secret. This adds a sense of authenticity to the local-scene legends first foray into a worldwide market. It also gives a sense of setting to “The Lion and the Prey,” a dark and stormy piece that begins with a doomy crawl and ups the speed before taking a sorrowful turn in its last minute.

“The Outcast (Sign of Cain)” is a highlight, with a demonic aggression not heard anywhere else on the album. Razor takes on a few high screams here worthy of his namesake.  Those screams continue on “Victims of Hate,” a pit-friendly old school headbanger.  Lead guitarist Maos gets some fun melodic lead parts here that accentuate the violent foray. “Death’s All Around You” reprises the atmosphere created by the opener, taking on a “Hallowed Be Thy Name” feel, before once again transforming into an urgent thrasher, with a finale/assault that needs to be heard to believed.

The band really sets themselves apart by paying tribute to a unique set of influences, not skimming off the top of metal’s history, but truly diving in. With a DIY aesthetic that mimics that of the bands they look up to the most, they capture the spirit of the underdog with flying colors. I imagine coming from a far-flung and often-tumultuous place like Santiago, Chile, helps to forge that kind of spirit and connection to metal’s storied underground. They’ve just begun to write their own story with “Striking the Bell of Death,” a solid, energetic first transmission that is true metal to the core.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sovereignty
2. Gloria in Excelsis Mihi
3. Runenberg
4. Hark The Battle-Cry Is Ringing
5. Last Will
6. Sleep
7. Winternacht
Razor - Vocals, Guitar
Maos - Lead Guitar
Noisemaker - Bass
Tyrant - Drums
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records


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Edited 11 November 2019

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