HELL – CURSE & CHAPTER – NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS – RELEASE: 22 NOVEMBER 2013
Hell signed to the Belgian label Mausoleum, but two weeks prior to the recording of the album the label collapsed. The band released a couple of demos before they split up in 1987. HELL were reincarnated in 2011 with the addition of Andy Sneap (guitar) and David Bower (vocals). Their debut album was released in that same year and took the metal world by storm. That great album was later on backed up with fabulous live shows. After a huge tour in 2012 and 2013 the band delivers their follow up under the moniker “Curse And Chapter”.
David Bower – Vocals
Kev Bower – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Andy Sneap – Guitar
Tony Speakman – Bass
Tim Bowler – Drums
CURSE AND CHAPTER
The album starts with a film score like intro and so “Gehennae Incendis” introduces this next chapter in their storybook of ‘hell metal’. The high octane fuelled riffs in “The Age Of Nefarious” kick off this second album. David Bower sings in his well-known “preacher” style and brings us his lyrics as a real storyteller (or should I say here storysinger!). This classical style of heavy metal is enhanced with some keys in the background. The break grants us short bursts of speedy guitar solos. This song also sounds catchy due to the harmony vocals.
The much longer “The Disposer Supreme” starts with calm but a bit creepy sounding keys! But soon Andy Sneap and Kev Bower deliver the goods on their six strings and David creates a special atmosphere where you can easily visualize these stories. If you’ve already seen this band live, you will know that it’s a visual extravaganza. The keys stick out there on several occasions and the song harvests a surprisingly calm section. A bombastic sound and feel open “Darkhangel”. But soon fast and mean riffs crush this mood with might. This layered track even has some monk-style vocals in the background.
You may find it hard to believe but this album has some similarities with my beloved AOR genre. When you listen to some keyboard parts and the catchy vocals, you will have to confirm my pleasant discovery! But rest assured metal lovers, “Harbringer Of Death” is a relay race of different bursts of guitar skills. Although I can smell here a little bit of Thin Lizzy spices on this extra hot dish! Listen carefully to the last solo around the four minute mark! We go on a trip to the East with “End Of Days”. But our Oriental journey is pushed aside by a furious duo consisting of galloping riffs and a rather mean main riff. David demonstrates here what a versatile voice he has and that he can do several styles with natural ease. The war intro from “Death Squad” makes me think about the battle between Al-Qaeda and the rest of the world, in a kind of Holy War between different religions. This instrumental track keeps my ears wide open to catch all the different sides of this tune. With the incorporation of the church organ and other keyboard sounds on top of the furious guitars, pounding drums and bashing bass this will be the perfect opportunity for David to transform himself in a hellish creature and do some stage tricks! A surprising and exciting instrumental slice of hell! Narration and audible visualization are an important part from Hell and so “Something Wicked This Way Comes” begins with an angry sounding David. The track holds some old school classic inspired riffs. “Land Of The Living Dead” is a catchy tune. Mainly by the symbiosis of the keys and the guitar! But also lend your ears to the (Steve Harris inspired) bass and the fresh sounding, fast as lightning solos in the break. A very contagious track!
A chaotic beginning followed by fast drumming and a strong bass line. This time around the icing on the cake is the very theatrical way of singing from David. “Deliver Us From Evil” knows many changes in pace and overall feel! The band has also managed to inject tons of melody into the song! The album closer “A Verpertine Legacy” surprises me with rather poppy sounding keys and a dominant bass at the start. They soon get the company of female chanting in the background. The song continues as another part of the play that David directs! Hell has done it again and surprised me big time! All I can say here is: “Welcome to Hell and have a hell of a time listening to this masterpiece!!”
Hell is a band you simply have to see once (or more) live on stage. I was immediately blown away by the whole concept for which this band stands! And on this album they took that to another level. When you close your eyes when listening, you can easily see how David takes over the stages and is backed up with the superb playing of his bandmates. The incorporation of elements from the classic heavy metal and the integration of the lovely keyboard tunes into their sound make me an even bigger fan! I simply can’t wait to see the band live in action again
Score: 4,5 out of 5
- Gehennae Incendis 1:47
- The Age Of Nefarious 3:46
- The Disposer Supreme 6:52
- Darkhangel 7:15
- Harbringer Of Death 4:55
- End Ov Days 5:37
- Deathsquad 5:10
- Something Wicked This Way Comes 5:09
- Faith Will Fall 3:47
- Land Of The Living Dead 4:08
- Deliver Us From Evil 4:47
- A Vespertine Legacy 6:33
Text Rik Bauters