That’s how you do black/thrash metal! With all the good stuff: some unrelenting heaviness and speed, very well-executed vocals that go from snarly and high-to deeper growls, and darkly twisted melodies.
The album wastes no time, starting with a blast of heavy riffs quickly followed by the vocals, in a song that remains really fast through and through, and only slows down at the end, for a nice and melancholic guitar melody. Most songs keep a similar speed and a great sense of fun.
And yet, there are also quieter moments, that can create an eerily menacing atmosphere like in the last part of “By the Stars be Deceived” or “Pure Contingency”. There are also some moments that just let you appreciate the melody, like the intro of “Parapraxis”, which uses these sort of spinning, almost goth rock-like riffs, but in a much heavier style, and throughout the song, keeps that nice melody while also having lots of screaming and a wild solo. It’s the ultimate proof that Hellixxir can pull off both melody and heaviness, and it’s one of the best songs on the album.
The vocals also really grab your attention. They are often done in a fast-paced delivery, which sometimes reminds me of old Cradle of Filth songs, but most importantly, really works for a thrash metal band. The vocalist mostly uses a high black metal snarl, but he also does a few growls that can be either deep of raspy, and these sort of Hellhammer-type barking growls and “Ough!” screams. You can also hear doing a few eerie spoken-sung parts. He has a lot of versatility, and really knows how to use his voice.
Overall, this album does sound like old Cradle of Filth, because of the narration-and-screaming vocals, the energetic black metal riffs that often turn into wild thrash metal, and also the way that the songs can either be fast like “The Black Fortress” more melodic and eerie like “Parapraxis”, or more complex, like the last 5 tracks. As far as I’m concerned, the comparison to Cradle of Filth and Hellhammer is nothing but a compliment, but Hellixxir manage to turn their influences into their own thing, and be good enough on their own.
So this is a really remarkable record, one that stands out by showing lots of personality and talent. It’s well-made, and it’s a lot of fun to listen to, there are no boring moments, barely any filler, and most of all, it’s memorable. Listen to this one, you’ll be glad you did.
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