Reviews - H
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
"Secrets", "Blood Hound" and "Fury of the Wind" open this album in a perfect way to start. The band sounds re-energized and ready to rock. The first song sounds great. The second better. The third one is even better!! So far, so good, right? Well, so that it's not all fast songs, "Hammer of Justice" slows things down to a nice mid-paced feel. Cool. "Never, Ever" is the ballad. Yes, it's good, of course. "Born to Rule" brings things back to that sing-along feel, which works, and "Knights of the 21st Century" is a 10-minute song with the grandfather of death/thrash/black metal Cronos (Venom) guesting for some spoken/growled-word stuff. This is the band's fifth album. By now, it has become obvious that they specialize in that traditional Priest/Maiden/Accept sound, while at the same time, in my opinion, sounding like HammerFall, but not a rip-off. If you don't like traditional heavy metal, then you won't like this. Of course, this is not the revelation of the universe, but it's damn catchy and good. Forget the cynics. HammerFall rocks.
HANDSOME - S/T
"We're HANDSOME, we play alternative. We love MTV! We rule, not only because we're part of the trend, but because we are handsome!" O.K., that's enough. Two song sample sent to me for some reason. Yes, this is commercial trendy shit I love to trash!
HARKONIN Ė GHANÕMA
Chunks of Meat Records
This is upfront thrashing/black metal raging in speed, tongue-lashing vocals. These 16 songs are no nonsense, just lots of expected lyrics about the night, darkness, hell, etc. The riffing is tight and even the band has a black metal sound, the guitars have a lot of old school thrashing going on. The vocals are of the Quorthon/Mille Petrozza variety. This band is fast and tight and all that, but itís not about speed per se. The songs have more than speed going. The changes in rhythms in the songs make for an enjoyable listen. Also, this is a band and sounds like one, not some one-man project. It is surprising how much variety they pack in some songs, including some technicality. People who canít enough of that old-style thrash riffing should be interested. The recording sound quality is similar to that of a solid demo, which makes the music sound not as full as it should be. Overall, itís pretty good, but not awesome metal.
HASTE - "PURSUIT IN THE FACE OF CONSEQUENCE"
Haste is a band who have elements of metal, and hardcore. They are obviously a serious, hardworking band. Musically, they are promising. So what's the problem? It's not enjoyable. It's too square, not much melody or originality.
HATE ETERNAL - I, MONARCH
After a few months of listening to Hate Eternalís King of All Kings, I enjoyed it more and more every time. I still enjoy it immensely. Now, I, Monarch is here, the bandís third. This band is a treat to watch live because Derek Roddy is an amazing drummer. In addition, I donít understand how Erik Rutanís wrists donít break off with his frenetic guitar playing. I, Monarch just sounds like it will be great to play and watch live, too. The level of technicality, drumming and guitarwise, is just fun to hear. I have no idea how these guys do it. ate Eternal is fun. I know Iím supposed to say that they are evil and brutal. All the creative blasting, the hyperspeed, the total death metal riffing and the growling and the catchiness of it all, yeah, Hate Eternal is fun. Whatís cool, too, is the variation in speed, as this is not monotonous at all, and the guitar solos add an extra twist to things. Anyway you approach it, for the total death metal vibe, which is here in full force or for the unmelodic memorability, itís very good. Is this better than King of All Kings? Right now, I donít know and I donít care. Some time will need to pass to answer that. However, Iím once again impressed with the musicality on here; definitely a band to watch and hear. Picky fans of quality death metal will be pleased; for fans of Morbid Angel, Immolation, Nile, Behemoth, etc. Any complaints? I would have liked more and longer guitar solos. More shredding. Also, a clearer drum sound so we can hear better what Derek is doing. I think this band can make a masterpiece one day. Maybe the next one?
HATEBREED -"SATISFACTION IS THE DEATH OF DESIRE"
Ultra-violent hardcore that pulverizes with precision old-school punk drumming, get-up- and-move riffs, and seething vox that don't let up. Add in some metallic features such as double bass, crunching, chugging guitar, and bass that plows through every track and you have one hell of a band. This CD is the musical equivalent of Joe Pesci getting revenge in "Goodfellas"; brutal, pounding, and utterly unexpected. And if listening to this CD doesn't make you at least stomp your foot, then you must be dead. Definitely a great listen, and one that is highly recommended!
HATESPHERE: BALLET OF THE BRUTE
CENTURY MEDIA REC.
I have seen some good reviews for this band and I guess that a lot people into bands like The Haunted, as well as hardcore fans, might enjoy this. I, for one, have listened to this many times and I like some brief parts, like some of the soloing and the riffs here and there, but overall, this has nothing special about it. Yeah, they sound "angry," but it just isn't that good. They cover "Caught in a Mosh" by Anthrax and it doesn't sound good. Sounds like one of many good and competent, but ultimately forgettable newer thrash bands.
THE HAUNTED - "MADE ME DO IT"
I remember the brouha surrounding the 1st Haunted release. It was good, yeah, but without Tomas Lindberg, it would never be the same, or as good. This album makes one remember the good At The Gates days. My friend Graveworm will really get off on this release. However, I'm still left wanting to hear Lindberg's anguished screams over the excellent melodic music written by these guys. It's fast, it's melodic, it's very good! I'm just spoiled from all that time listening to Lindberg and At The Gates. This is a good CD, absolutely. Even tho it's eleven tracks of "I wish it was At The Gates", I still recommend it.
THE HAUNTED: REVOLVER
They get great reviews! Even Slayer likes' em! But you know what? I genuinely do not see what the big hoopla is all about. Take this new album: it's somewhat catchy hardcore/thrash; songs have a couple of good riffs and what not. I just don't think it's great stuff. It's simplistic and basic, way overrated stuff. Oh, and one more thing, people: shut the hell up about At the Gates already!!! Geeez!
HECATE ENTHRONED - REDIMUS
Basically, this is strictly second-rate black metal. Lots of blasting and energy, there are maybe two good songs on here. It is not so much that this is bad, because it isn't, but rather that there is nothing great going on here. I listened to this some seven times and I never felt excited to play it again. I know this review sounds boring. Well, how is a review supposed to be interesting if the music is only ok/mediocre?
HEGEMON - "CHAOS SUPREME"
Fairly above average black metal with a few growls thrown in for good measure. Don't get me wrong, they do it well and with conviction. It's just too bad this didn't come out two or three years ago. There are some stand outs. "King of Wisdom" and "Flight of the Dragon Riders", to name a couple. At least it's not an overly-symphonic Emperor rip-off. They're definitely not ripping anyone off, it just doesn't sound like anything new. Maybe as they progress, they'll start coming more into their own. Still, a pretty strong release.
HEMDALE / EXHUMED - "IN THE NAME OF GORE"
Do you like sick, intense, brutal, fucking music? Are you a person who loves to listen to bands with excellent drumming? Then you have found two killer bands on one CD. First up is HEMDALE. First of all, I want to say that this is one of the best bands ever, to see live. I haven't witnessed such skill and tightness in a band of this nature in my life. Craig Rowe, the drummer, is one intense drummer to see live. The music is of a grinding manner that is very pleasing to hear. I love this band. The only bitch I have about this, is that the production could have been a lot better, but it is good, don't get me wrong!
Next up is EXHUMED, and I must say it was my first time hearing this band and I actually liked this band better than HEMDALE. Live? I can not say, but if they can perform as good as HEMDALE, then I would probably poop in my pants. This band is highly influenced by older CARCASS. Actually, some of the riffing reminds me a lot of CARCASS. Again, don't get me wrong, they do have their own ideas. The song, "Septicemia" is one song that I could / would make me go totally insane in the pit if I ever saw this band play live. Fucking crazyass, pounding riffing! This is an excellent CD all sick grinding freaks should indulge in!
HIBRIA - DEFYING THE RULES
Thrashing, shredding guitars, screaming-metal-god singing, energetic, speedy, double bass drumming and thundering bass--that's what Hibria is, boy!! This is the conversation I think these guys had:
"Hey, you know, I love thrashy power metal, but I don't like the ballads.
What do you think would happen if we played all the songs fast?!!"
"Is that a good idea? Is it possible to play everything fast and still sound good? I don't know, man, maybe that would not work."
"Yes, it will, you idiot, gosh!! The singer will be screaming his lungs out in every song!! The guitarists will shred until their fingers bleed in every song!! The bass player will"He's gonna".I don't know, man", but he will play fast!! And the drummer will have to be in good shape because these songs are going to kick his ass!! He will need quick feet and 10 hands to do this stuff!! And dammit, every song still will need to be different!! And fast!!"
There you have it. That's it. Do you wish Helloween would thrash more? Do you wish they had no ballads? Yup, these guys thought of it, too. Do you wish Manowar would stop messing around, play fast and loud, like they claim they do, but do not? Yes, this band knows what you mean! And do you want more thrashy riffs? Check. Do you want more lightning-strike-quick guitar solos? Double check! High-pitched screaming? Triple check. Man, Hibria are the biggest power metal fans in the world and decided to show everyone how things ought to be.
HORSE THE BAND - THE MECHANICAL HAND
One song is called "The House of Boo." Another one is named "Octopus on Fire." Still another answers to; "Soaring Quails." The first one is entitled "Birdo." I think it's funny that so many rock musicians come up with lame lyrics and titles in some sort of attempt at being pool hall poets and red neck bar Shakespeare's. The music here is some sort of whacky hardcore, funky scream-core, comic relief punk rock with some 70's melodies to show that the guitar players can do solos. They have the stop/start, abrupt rhythm changes to comically annoy you. Does this sound like something in which you would be interested in?
HYPOCRISY - VIRUS
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
Forrest Gump's mama says that Hypocrisy is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get. This band keeps changing from album to album. The only thing you are sure to expect is that it is some form of growl, down-tuned, metal. OK, so let's see the box: "Warpath" opens in a blasting black-metal manner. It hits instantly; vocals, blast beats, riffing, all good. "Scrutinized" is fast paced, but not blasting; heavy, pounding, groovy and melodic. So far, so good: "Fearless" is even more melodic and simpler. The growling is sounding good and the guitars are harmonizing. It's a catchy, make-you-feel better song, still down-tuned, though. "Craving for Another Killing" is a total Immortal, black-metal worship. Of course, the drummer is Horgh (real name: Bobby Earl Wacklespoodle). He even does the total Immortal fills. "Let the Knife Do the Talking" is a slow, chugging track. I don't care for it because it's pretty basic with nothing to make your ears stand up. "A Thousand Lies" is a growled, melodic death ballad. Not bad, I guess, but it just doesn't rock. "Incised before I've Ceased" is a much better song: mid paced, but the drumming has more going on, more action, the riffing is creative. It even has a brief neo-classical part. The vocal lines sound good. "Blooddrenched" is faster, brutal gruff number that seeks to bring back the energy of the first two songs. The band doesn't sound as committed on this one. I suspect that this is filler material. "Compulsive Psychosis" is mid-paced, but I'm not totally convinced that this is not filler material, as well. The soloing on this is slower, more felt and it's surprisingly good, but the riffing is play-on, chugging stuff. "Living to Die" closes the proceedings. It's an "epic" (keyboards) sounding, crawling, with a simple melody repeated over and over. It has a spoken, narrated vocal part along with some semi-clean vocals. It's effective in achieving a somber mood.