I know that when I received this album to review that some of my colleagues at Ave Noctum refused to review it due to the duo who make up Hellvetron being affiliated with another active band called Nyogthaeblisz, whose background is shall we say on the rather dodgy side of black metal without actually saying it’s NSBM. Over the years I’ve had various inner conflicts and mental conversations about whether I should listen to not just NSBM, but porno grind, straight edge crossover or hardcore and even the goregrind style, as each has lyrical areas I don’t agree with one iota. Everyone has their own mental filtering system and a set of standards, but for me as a reviewer I cannot say you should not listen to a band just because I or someone else personally finds their subject matter unpalatable. I once physically ripped a Lividity album to shreds due to its stance on women, whether that was the correct decision was purely down to my opinion at that time of said album. Anyway enough of my ranting, because as you have now successfully worked out I am definitely reviewing the debut by Hellvetron.

This release comes on the back of a demo released back in 2005 and judging by the long song titles, this album focuses purely on black metal, with nothing in the way of the potential racist superiority in the titles or album cover imagery from what I can tell. Saying this is an album is a little deceiving with the total length being just over 25 minutes and starting with an industrial like intro that opens “Sheol – Grave Of Supernals”. The album seems to be following the Qliphothic Tree Of Death in terms of a concept as my research found out.

After the intro I was expecting a feral black assault but instead the album sits resolutely in a funereal atmosphere with the pace marching slowly towards some sort of occultish sacrifice. The sound is virtually monophonic creating a claustrophobic density throughout the whole release. As with all albums I listen to them on headphones to get a feel for the sound and I can categorically say that this has an unending despair about it, with lots of painful vocals and extended riffing. Into “Abaddon – Wings Of Perdition” and the slow almost Triptykon like drudge continues. The drums have no technical prowess at all, being there to create a hypnotic ritualistic beat. The riff change is excellent here, almost doomcrust like. The atmosphere has that horror filled dread about it as well, something that is not easy to achieve as “Titahion – Foul Eater Of The Clay Of Death” hits Hellhammer territory firmly and squarely on the skull with that sceptre the gnarly dude on “Apocalyptic Raids” is holding. In places the claustrophobia has reminiscences of 90s Norwegian Fester though the vocals are truly barked from Beelzebub’s arse during a post curry toilet visit.

Once the album hits “Bar Shashketh – Fathomless Pit Of Destruction” you feel almost filthy such is the sludgy approach which owes more than a passing nod to the masters of doom Black Sabbath on their debut, only this is much heavier as you’d expect. “Tzalemoth – Shadow Of Death” is up next and this tune is virtually unrecognisable in terms of an actual tune, coming across not as ridiculous as say Abruptum, but a virtual arrhythmic demonic mugging. The guitar and bass blur into one amorphous mass of writhing torment. Penultimate tune is “Shaari Moth – Ominous Gate Of Death” which is stripped bare of any actual production style, laying out all its raw doom sludge for everyone to behold and gape at. This is evil sounding music for evil minded people and closes with “Gehinnom – Hellwomb Of The Impure Hag Queens”, an anarchic song that contains the one and only blast to appear on this album. In places this release has the mind fucking qualities of bands like Ghast and early Bethlehem. This is not one for the faint hearted and especially anyone expecting a high end production, which isn’t to say it is badly produced, far from it, it just sounds damn evil; Welcome To Hell.

8/10 (Martin Harris)