Review: “Scythian Stamm” by Hell:On

When it comes to Death Metal Zaporizhia, Ukraine’s Hell:on have a fierce reputation and having worked with the likes of Andreas Kisser of Sepultura, Jeff Waters of Annhilator, Andy LaRocque from King Diamond and Marek Pajak of Vader during their previous recordings, their long awaited sixth studio record becomes a highly anticipated one. Oleksiy Pasko (guitars), Oleh Talanov (drums), Oleksandr Sitalo (bass), Oleksandr Baiev (vocals) and Anton Vorozhtsov (guitar) have spent the past 15 years tearing fans limb from limb across Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany with lyrics around mysticism, philosophy and anti-religious beliefs, known for a Thrash Death Metal blend with both Oriental and Tribal elements…

…It should come as no surprise that the opening onslaught of “Spreading Chaos” brings the blood and thunder, courtesy of a pummeling kit performance from Talanov who lays the gauntlet down for any aspiring drummer, setting the standard for this bastard hybrid of Thrash and Death Metal. The riffs instantly bring to mind “Dark Ages” era of Soulfly, particularly the ripping solos, which has a similar tone to the one that Marc Rizzo (ex-Ill Nino, Cavalera Conspiracy) uses on that record. Couple that with the tribal elements, mandolins and groove that cut through the back end and the comparison seems a solid one. The difference here is that 15 years after that record came out, this one has the benefit of enhanced production and the far deeper below of Oleksandr Baiev. Bringing blast beats to the table during “The Architect’s Temple” which flows on riff wise neatly from “Spreading Chaos” like a sequel, works perfectly as the conjoined twin plays out with heightened aggression and infectious lead moments, the bursts of Black Metal giving it the razors edge. Combining Baiev’s brutal bark with some whispered incantations “Ashes Of The Gods” has the undertone of something evil being summoned, the infectious lead licks adding a hypnotic quality. Rushing out of the gate at breakneck pace with some venomous jackhammer footwork “Under The Protection From Beyond” has a few moments where Baiev’s pronunciation suffers due to the need for a faster lyrical flow to match the pace of a song with a blistering frenetic energy to it. He is at his best when he keeps the phrasing short during the latter half of this bruiser of a cut, more of a hammer blow than a shotgun blast when it comes down to brass tacks. The epic introduction to “Movements Of The Godless” has a cinematic quality to it, the building drum patterns underneath helping to create a sense of tension before the bloodshed begins. When the band break out, there is no holding them back; they match the intensity that Skeletal Remains bring to the table with consummate ease.

The second half of the album begins with “The Denial Of Death” which matches the dark intensity of the first half of the record, a punch in the face with a tyre iron that has a soaring solo of sublime quality inside of the first 90 seconds that is unleashed like fire from a bottle. There are classic moments of Death Metal within its folds, while the sheer relentlessness and power of the rhythm section is jaw dropping. As with the bands previous releases there are quirky sounds that pop out of the mix like little tribal elements and while on some of those older records they were a distraction in places, here they are perfectly placed as “B.S.B” showcases during a drawn out introduction of slick style. The bludgeoning opening verse rises from that and the staccato riffs flood the fields of despair with something that takes the history of Death Metal and builds upon the foundations once more. A face melting solo during a thunderous tribal drum pattern in the final third of this is monstrous. South American influences are clear on “Whispers Of The Past Yet To Come” as it guides through a sequence of breath taking solos and leads with a galloping rhythm of unadulterated battery before a mid song breakdown that hits hard. Bringing back the staccato riff breaks with aplomb “Roaring Silence” keeps the momentum of the album high, turn over new territory with each pulsating moment. A tour de force of unstoppable power, Hell:On decimate the weak at every opportunity during this record and by the time single “My Testament” hits, even the most hardened Metal Head will be grinning from ear to ear. The single itself was 40 seconds or so shorter than the album version of the track, an orchestral introduction offering something new before the driven riffs take hold. The finest moment of the career of Hell:On to date, “Scythian Stamm” is a temple to the Gods of Death Metal [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Spreading Chaos
2. The Architect’s Temple
3. Ashes Of The Gods
4. Under The Protection From Beyond
5. Movements Of The Godless
6. The Denial Of Death
7. B.S.B.
8. Whispers Of The Past Yet To Come
9. Roaring Silence
10. My Testament

Scythian Stamm” by Hell:On will be released on 1st November via Hell Serpent Music with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *