The return of Polish Black Metal masters Hell-Born is one that risked tarnishing their reputation, which the twelve long years of silence have old served to solidify. However Baal Ravenlock (Bass, Vocals), Les (Guitars) and Diabolizer (Drums) have worked tirelessly with Haldor Grunberg (Behemoth, Blaze Of Perdition) in the studio and received help in contribution form from Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski of Behemoth, Jacek “Jeff” Kubiak of Damnation and Jacek Langowski of Holy Smoke, in continuing their journey through the depths of the Underworld.
“I am the devil, and I am here to do the devil’s work” ~ Otis B. Driftwood, Devil’s Rejects. The quote introduces both the album and “When You Are God” with a sense of impending doom. Pointing the finger as the winds of a furious rage whip up a storm within, Ravenlock has been crossed andhas no intention of letting it lay. His venomus words are tempered by evil melodies and as the band bring Blackened Melodic Death Metal to burn the World. The thunderous “Axis Of Decay” keeps the fires burning, greeting the dawn with a demonic hymn and the howls of Wolves baying for blood. Both former members of Behemoth in Baal Ravenlock and Les prove, if it was needed that they still have the fires of hate burning within over these opening tracks while Diabolizer provides the menacing undertone with his percussive performance. “Ye Olde Woods Devil” is a mid tempo piece of primevil music with a haunting riff that stirs the soul of the savage beast within, the calm before the storm of “Uroboros” which sees the trio joined by Jacek Langowski of Holy Smoke fame, who delivers a ripper of a solo to match Ravenlock’s blood gargling vocal prowess, his guttural growls are that of a black bear waiting to feed. The quality of the extended instrumental passage here is something that reflects from Gold in the Throne Room in which Hell-Born sit, an unexpected and yet majestic piece of music that offers a glimpse of light through the black clouds.
The second half of the record sees a second lead guitarist guest make an appearance in Jacek “Jeff” Kubiak of Damnation, who lights the blue touch paper during the dark and brooding “The Butcher“. The incendiary fusion of Black and Death Metal is added to by wave of Thrash riffs for “Son Of Earth” which takes a leaf from Slayers book with a rising lead moment that doesn’t break into the solo that Kerry King would have produced, instead opting for the less is more approach. The pummelling groove of “In God’s Death” is an unstoppable force that showcases Diabolizer’s percussive performance as it rumbles like a tank, smashing through all in its path. His metronomic is perfectly weighted to the xenophobia of the lyrics with a couple of impressive pounding war drum fills that are outstanding. “Soulrape” is another brutal addition that serves to confirm that there is nothing that lacks quality or finesse here before the ripper that is “Blakk Metal” throws gasoline on the funeral pyre and watches the flames touch the sky. A lesson in violence, it is a demonstration for anyone starting out in the genre of how it is done and Negral’s accompanying roars provide the Plague winds upon which we ride. Hell-Born have released probably their most diverse album since they started in 1996 and it is an absolute pleasure [8/10]
When You Are God
Axis Of Decay
Ye Olde Woods Devil
Uroboros (ft. Jacek Langowski of Holy Smoke)
The Butcher (ft. Jacek ‘Jeff’ Kubiak of Damnation)
Son of Earth
In God’s Death
Blakk Metal (ft. Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski of Behemoth)
“Natas Liah” by Hell-Born is out 26th January via Odium Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp