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Hellvetron: Death Scroll of Seven Hells and It's Infernal Majesties
Black Metal, Doom Metal
Hells Headbangers
April 17th, 2012
Release length: 25:16

Hellvetron is a name you may be familiar with, though chances are you never really heard anything by them before. Formed back in 2004, the two-man project issued a demo recording titled Ceremonial Crucifixion through Satanic Skinhead Propganda, but was strictly limited to one hundred cassette pro-pressings. This was way back in 2005, and since then the popularity of the act had considerably grown in the Black Metal underground, enough to attract the attention of Hell’s Headbangers, who are issuing the band’s debut full-length, Death Scroll of Seven Hells and It’s Infernal Majesties. But, this Texas-based US Black Metal act is not to be taken at face value, as this recording holds a completely different experience than what you might expect.

Of course, Death Scroll of Seven Hells and It’s Infernal Majesties carries a pretty raw, yet blunt audio quality to it. The drums come through surprisingly clear, but still at a lesser volume. The cymbals are pretty loud most of the time, often matching the thick, yet echoing snares. The bass kicks, however, are essentially inaudible thanks to this, and it wasn’t until “Tzalemoth – Shadow of Death” that I realized they even existed, let alone had a click. The guitars have a deeper Death Metal distortion to them as well, which works nicely against the guttural vocal approach that is heavily echoed, giving off a hellish tone to the already sometimes uncompromising atmosphere and music. Sadly, much like the kicks of the drum kit, it often becomes hard to pick out the bass guitar, as it blends in well with the already low chords, and just comes off pushed back in the mix too far drowned out by the vocals and drumming.

But, the album still holds a very brutal sound to it, which is thanks largely to the aforementioned Death Metal-esque elements, and the traditional Doom Metal sluggish pace. This cascades the Black Metal template into a dismal, bludgeoning sound that really stands out quite well, often giving a truly nightmarish experience into the depth of a musical interpretation of Hell. The entire album is composed of several chapters, all often relating to Hebrew words or locations, such as “Gehenna” meaning “Valley of the Son of Hinnon” and “Abaddon” meaning “Destruction.” Essentially, the album comes off more like a conceptual piece, and the artwork dictating a creature of several heads helps this concept, making it as though each track seems to reflect one head of the beast. This really gives Death Scroll of Seven Hells and It’s Infernal Majesties a little extra depth that anyone willing to dig through the material will enjoy.

Aside the potential of discovery through your own interpretation of the lyrics, music, or general packaging, there’s also some really good music worth mentioning. The main issue here is that most songs carry the same generally slower pace that “Sheol – Grave of Supernals” has. That isn’t bad, but it definitely does hold back on some variety despite some faster moments here and there. This song kicks off with some ambient effects that work out for what the band is going for, though don’t really do much to introduce the listener to the speed and general brutality of the music, or the environment each one possesses. The material after does, however, feel like a ritualistic introduction into a dark, occultish world. Much of the time it often comes off as Droning Black Metal, but it does gradually build to a much richer, hostile experience towards the end, proving to be one of the factors that keeps the album fresh as you continue. “Abbadon – Wings of Perdition” starts right off with a crushing, heavier, faster pace similar to climax of the previous offering, eventually imploding on itself once a small section of blast beats kick in to amp up the intensity. Unfortunately, that latter section to wrap the track up feels a little more hollow than it should be, as well as rather bland. It even ends in the same manner as “Sheol – Grave of Supernals” by ringing out the guitar to silence, though it’s much shorter in comparison, another plaguing similarity many other songs suffer from.

“Tzalemoth – Shadow of Death” really stands out the most on this release, but is one of the shortest offerings. While this is one of the faster songs, it also just feels a lot more intense and hellish overall. The additional higher pitched shrieks that are belted out here really work well with the echo, giving off a sense of desperation and hopelessness, especially during the somewhat hollow music that finds itself backing them up the second time around. “Gehinnom – Hellwomb of the Impure Hag Queens” is another that really benefits from the atmosphere, though this time it’s from the music it weaves. The blast beats utilized here, mixed with chords that offer up more of a psychedelic, drug induced vibe between them, really lets the listener just drift off into the nightmarish void that the varied slow to mid-tempo material offers, giving way to an early eighties slasher flick style keyboard and synth piece that works perfectly with the brutal music that just came before it. In fact, it’s a really unnerving climax to the track, and the album. “Bar Shasketh – Fathomless Pit of Destruction” also is worth noting, largely for its consistent slower pace with slightly faster guitar work making an uncompromising attitude and environment in the background. There’s plenty of slower bridges that are simply crushing towards the end, and some of the rasp style vocal work is hidden as a backing layer that becomes a lot more obvious near the end of the song.

Hellvetron have not put the most awe-inspiring album together, but Death Scroll of Seven Hells and It’s Infernal Majesties is definitely one that will keep the underground talking. The superb mixture and Death and Doom Metal ideas over a Black Metal foundation really makes for an experience that deviates from the norm. The atmospheres and brutal, hopeless tones of the music is really what accentuates the album, and the way much of it seems to work together to convey some various linking concepts leaves more for the listener to discover with repeat playthroughs. However, additional Black Metal rasps would have greatly helped given how much echoing there is over the existing gutturals, an element proven to be vital in later songs, and a little more variety to the music, as well as a stronger bass guitar and kick presence definitely would have helped to make this a truly bludgeoning effort. But, overall, this is definitely a surprising release that you can come back to many times after the first spin, if not for something good to listen then, than for ambience for whatever dark, sinister thing you happen to be doing or feeling.

01. Sheol – Grave of Supernals – 5:46
02. Abaddon – Wings of Perdition – 2:56
03. Titahion – Foul Eaters of the Clay of Death – 2:40
04. Bar Shasketh – Fathomless Pit of Destruction – 3:09
05. Tzalemoth – Shadow of Death – 2:30
06. Shaari Moth – Ominous Gate of Death – 3:34
07. Gehinnom – Hellwomb of the Impure Hag Queens – 4:40
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Hells Headbangers.