Review: Hell:On “Scythian Stamm” [Hell Serpent Music]

Review: Hell:On “Scythian Stamm” [Hell Serpent Music]

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The last Hell:On‘s longplay to date, Once Upon A Chaos was released in far 2015. Three years later the band mentioned in some interview that they work on a new album and in 2019, together with Germans Pripjat, the band release a split A Glimpse Beyond, with three new songs. And now, in the end of 2020 the time has come for the new, sixth Hell:On‘s longplay, named Scythian Stamm.

2020s Hell:On constitutes a Death Metal, where the heaviness and brutality interwoven with dark shamanic atmosphere and some Orient motives; those who heard A Glimpse Beyond won’t let me lie. In Scythian Stamm the band also used some tribal and folk instruments like sitar and jaw harp almost in every song. Beside this, a throat singing and sounds of horns can be heard in this album as well.

Shamanism and Oriental motives appear in Hell:On‘s music for a reason: the band was inspired by the ancient Scythian burial complex located on the island Hortitsa near the band’s hometown Zaporizhia and Scythians themselves – their life, rituals and daily experience.

Scythian Stamm opens with brutal “Spreading Chaos”: melodic intro changed with mighty riffs and unrestrained drums with endless blast beats. Screeching solo guitars are also fit the music greatly and it seems that it will last that way until the end of the song, but in the middle everything fades out, leaving only string instrument with some Orient melody, which turns to surprisingly melodic solo. The next “The Architect’s Temple” keeps the brutality of Death Metal but at the same time adds lots of tribal elements. I can’t say that the main melody is Orient as well but this without any doubt it’s a folk and probably ancient one. Death Metal also prevails in “Under The Protection From Beyond”, while in this song some Orient motives can be heard distinctly. It is also impress with the guitar and drums solos, which played at the same time. And “Movements Of The Godless” just absorbs you fully: it sounds very solid and sometimes epic, with some short melodic moments (from time to time a sitar can be also heard) but overall it makes creates the impression that something big talks to human from above (in all meanings). It can easily crush him, but for now it just warning.

Leisurely “Ashes Of The Gods” starts from the Orient melody as well and some Orient string instrument (can’t say for sure what is it). Drums with potent bass on the forefront and the whispering from vocalist, which turns to growling and back, create a really dark and mesmerizing atmosphere of some shamanic ritual. Such “shamanism” can be felt in “B.S.B.”, which sounds more like Groove Metal and not Death, but, of course, it is dark, mighty and brutal as well. Jaw harp and throat singing do their job well: they captivate and draw some  otherworld pictures in your mind, turning one more song into a shamanic ritual. In “Roaring Silence” short bursts of brutality changed with atmosphere and Oriental music. Moreover, this song makes you feel that all these elements are fighting each othe and sometimes it is one element on the fore and then another one.

The album ends with atmospheric and solid “My Testament” with the lyrics from T. G. Shevchenko, translated by John Weir and the spoken word by Bohdan Stupka. This poem is significant in Ukraine and very important for Ukrainians, so it is a brave act to use these lyrics, even translated in English.

Well, five years of waiting are over and Hell:On are back! They still brutal, tough and solid, but interesting and mesmerizing at the same time. They masterfully combine different music that way, where not even one element loses anything, but somehow they highlight each other. And it’s really interesting how this magnificence will sound live (because it will, sooner or later).

Scythian Stamm will be released on November, 1 via Hell Serpent Music.

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