Brazil can produce a lot of raw noisy bands, but the country can also produce a lot of cool metal bands that hold their own against many contemporaries around the world. However, Hellish War falls into the more positive part of my previous statement. Being part of this recent upsurge of traditional metal as a fan is rather exciting and many bands are coming into fruition, although admittedly there are few that are merely treading water and copying others just like it was the first time around. Hellish War may have a sound of older German bands in their arsenal, that being Running Wild and Grave Digger, but they do make this sound their own by adding their own charisma which is spearheaded by the vocal charge genuinely complimenting the already electrifying music. But don’t be fooled, you will hear some pieces of the arrangements you may have heard before; I mean it’s inevitable nowadays really! But in the spirit of this metal genre in particular…then bring it on, this is very appetising indeed.
Brandishing power, style and passion that can be highlighted by a track like ‘Reflects on the Blade’ leads you to imagine studded leather clad metal warriors throwing out their guitar shapes, raising their fists and bringing unity to the watching audience, it feels like a Manowar show to be honest, but less staged. This track in particular has tremendous power and a style that heralds camaraderie whilst those who don’t understand this emotion will certainly scoff and detract themselves from the likes of the 8-plus minute epic ‘Phantom Ship’, which is unfortunate as it’s a belter. This one undoubtedly sounds like those German pirates previously mentioned, but there are many a-maiden influences here too, especially with the galloping riffs and chords that take control and master their own destiny throughout the release overall. One little niggle comes to mind is the clicking nature of some of the bass rhythms, maybe the pick sound is being reproduced or heavy finger picking but to be fair, you need to listen hard and be really picky to make it affect your overall enjoyment of this debut record for Pure Steel Records.
Obviously this will please a lot of folks, Hellish War play plenty of material to keep the hardened road warrior happy, but in all seriousness and without metal clichés written previously, ‘Keep It Hellish’ has a perfect mix of old and new European metal that fulfils your appetite and makes you thirsty for more.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)