Nunslaughter: Hell’s Unholy Fire

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Nunslaughter: Hell’s Unholy Fire
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Nunslaughter: Hells Unholy Fire
Death Metal
Hells Headbangers
May 22nd, 2012
Release length: 30:02
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Hells Unholy Fire marked the first ever Nunslaughter full-length recording. At just over thirty minutes, this effort was strictly limited in both vinyl LP and CD formats through Revenge Productions. What took roughly thirteen years to finally become a reality, fans flocked and picked up the latest from Hells busiest Death Metal act, but is it actually as good as the loyal legions make it out to be?

The audio quality is pretty rough, and sounds excellent for the analog sound of an LP, as well as even on a regular compact disc. The vocals are pretty loud with a rougher mid-range guttural style that often seemed slightly eccentric in a Deceased manner than a straight approach. The guitars have a nice distortion that’s rather traditional, but with the rawer tone of the music, they end up feeling a lot heavier and vile, greatly amplified by the bass. This instrument isn’t too loud, but enough to blend well with the chords to give the riffs a burdening sensation that goes well with the atmosphere. The drums sound largely natural like the vocals as well. The snares range from a tighter tuning to a thicker, deeper sound, though the first is more apparent than the latter, and the cymbals are vibrant enough, though don’t really sound too good when hit in a blastbeat fashion. The bass kicks, however, really stand out to help keep the rhythm alive with a nice click that dominates over everything in the mix, largely standing at the forefront while the rest of the kit seems a pushed a bit in the back.

Like usual, many of the songs are rather short and rarely break the two minute mark. “I Am Death” is nearly three minutes long, but a good majority of it is dedicated to sound effects of wind blowing, and a roaring blaze with a sinister laugh behind it. This kicks into a catchy early Death Metal meets Heavy Metal style offering for a short period of time until the vocals introduce the title “I Am Death” in the lyrics, then hammer into faster, yet toned down blastbeats. The vocals don’t quite match the energy of the song, but that changes as soon as this one ends. You also have “Nunslaughter” clocking in at almost two and a half minutes, this time capitalizing on the early era sound a little more for about a minute before hammering into the blasting once more for the chorus. The rhaspy vocals sound much stronger, and clearly studio altered timing is brought in during the faster chorus so they come in one right after the other, adding to the energy before the sluggish Doom Metal-esque conclusion. Rounding ouy these longer cuts is the barely two minute “Burn in Hell.” The two-step drumming offers some rebellion to the aggressive atmosphere, presenting more of a suitable flow to the grinding moments, but also enterprising on the aforementioned Doom Metal slower paces, never staying on one specific style for too long.

Unfortunately, aside the rest being two minutes or less, that literally sums things up. For the most part, the songs are essentially set up the same as the longer ones, but sometimes bring in a Thrash metal or even a hint of Punk to the mix. “Death by the Dead” has a nice chugging groove to the chorus, but a stricter Death Metal approach for the main verses that speed things up well without resorting to blastbeats. “Killed by the Cross” features a very brief blast section, but it fits better here and doesn’t come off as patterned. There’s more of an early Thrash Metal approach over a crushing Death Metal foundation. Much of that also describes “Impale the Soul,” but the track moves at a slower, haunting tone that bursts into scaling levels of speed instead of hammering straight into a blasting chous. “Burning Away” starts off a little tongue-in-cheek, and at barely over a minute, it’s an interesting, if not too serious track that helps to break up some of the similarities in composition from one song to the next, but never really kicking into full gear until the last ten or so second.

If you’re a fan of Nunslaughter, then you probably already have this album in your collection, whether legally or pirated. If the latter, or actually don’t have either one, Hells Headbangers are giving you yet another chance to own this with the fifth printing (second from Hell’s Headbangers) of Hells Unholy Fire, coming back to vinyl after the label’s 2009 red cassette edition. This is literally the same album pressed on vinyl again, but the artwork has clearly been mirrored with the black bar on the left side removed, as well as having the title placed elsewhere. For a limited time, you can get a bonus seven inch EP titled Hells Unholy Rough Mix with it, which is limited to only two hundred pressing and contains alternate versions of five tracks from the actual full-length. Unfortunately, these were not provided for the review, but even collectors who have this release will surely look at this additional piece as a necessary item for their ever growing Nunslaughter collection.

Hells Unholy Fire isn’t really that bad an album, but at the same time a lot of it just came off as being largely patterned. When the band mixes things up with a Thrash Metal influence, or even some early Punk/Hardcore rebellion, it definitely feels a lot more natural when it breaks into the blastbeats. But, at about thirty minutes, Nunslaughter definitely gives you your fill, and leavea you willing to come back again, though maybe not right away. It’s understandable after one listen why the group doesn’t usually do full-length recordings, but, overall, Hells Unholy Fire may not be the most engaging album you’ll ever hear, but it’s still a solid recording that fans won’t be let down by. However, which pressing you get is up to you, and the 2012 edition seems well worth it if you can still obtain that limited edition bonus EP. If not, it all depends on which of the five pressings you’d rather own, as well as how much you’re willing to spend.

01. I Am Death – 2:57
02. Death by the Dead – 1:14
03. Cataclysm – 1:33
04. The Dead Plague – 1:38
05. Hells Unholy Fire – 1:49
06. Killed by the Cross – 1:57
07. Burning Away – 1:03
08. Nunslaughter – 2:27
09. Burn in Hell – 2:05
10. Blasphemy – 1:39
11. Seas of Blood – 1:39
12. Inverted Churches – 1:57
13. Blood for Blood – 1:42
14. Impale the Soul – 1:41
15. Altair of the Dead – 0:59
16. Buried Alive – 1:42
17. Perversion of Gore – 1:45
18. Satanic – 0:48
Overall Score: 7/10

2012 Reissue Score: 7.5/10



Digital review copy of this release provided by Hells Headbangers.