Let me just start by talking about how fucking beautiful this album art is. Upon seeing something like that and discovering that it’s blackened speed metal, I had to bump it far up my priority list. Hellish Grave hail from Brazil, and dropped their second full-length last year titled Hell No Longer Waits. Speed metal and black metal aesthetics come together here, but I honestly pick up more from the blackened side. Extra graininess in production, and the way many of the notes run together gives it that kind of boost.
In fact, I was rather surprised by this, considering how clean and melodic the intro “Transylvanian Nights” is. The muddiness was a bit of a letdown, especially with what it does to the drums. They’re so drowned out that it almost sounds like you’re listening from underwater. The vocals are also one-dimensional. That’s common for this style, but I couldn’t help but feel like there could be more. Solos and leads are really the only things that break the surface, especially when rock ‘n roll vibes are added. I do enjoy “Macabre Worship” for this reason. It’s a lot of fun, and it presents plenty of brightness before falling back into the crushing, dark, pit.
Hell No Longer Waits sports other songs containing beefy moments that I can’t overlook. “Locomotive Blast” is easily the best tune because of the swinging nature of the tremolos. The synths that show up from time to time also boast solid touches. The title track rings this in early on, where “Over My Haunted Pact” cakes it on even harder in the latter half. This allowed for that nice haunted-house type feel.
But as a whole, I can’t say that Hellish Grave have fully sold me. They’ve clearly got an ear for the spooks, and I’m sure this could grow on people who really crave the blackened aesthetic. Just know that the production is hard to get past, and the songwriting is underwhelming.
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