HellOnI wasn’t expecting much from this bunch of Ukrainian thrashers (who used to be called Hellion but changed to avoid confusion with other acts) but what a surprise they are and this is their fourth full length. Enlisting a couple of guest appearances helps too as the album viciously starts with “Hear My Call” with crunching double kick and deep vocals penetrating the song. The speed is swift, urgent and pile-driving, each facet is executed like on a time deadline. The leads have a strong whiff of Kirk Hammett when he played them properly and that makes this release so much better. Comparable to the likes of the more modern day thrash bands like Legion Of The Damned and Warbringer these guys mean business as “Dormition” has ex-Vader member Marek guesting with its scything riff and borderline death metal ferocity.

Annihilator strikes when you hear “Slaughter Smell” that features a guest guitar slot by Andy LaRoque. I’d even say this song has elements of old Megadeth too which for some will perk your attention but beware this is far more aggressive than anything Megadeth have ever put out. My suggestion at death metal rings true on “Duality” in a way that a band like Protector and maybe even Exhorder (if you remember them at all) did by mixing thrash and death equally to create such aural violence and this album is damn brutal, punishing and rabidly murderous. The band can turn a trick or two with some deft guitar work and nicely placed more melodic sections when required though generally this is out to cleave your head off especially on “Prey” which definitely sounds like Warbringer and is equally battering. “The Game” has more Annihilator like riffing, speed metal like at first before the double bass comes thundering in like a 1000 ton train, though I wasn’t too keen on the shouty styled vocals here, a minor point as the album ends with “Insight” and makes you understand exactly what Hell:On are all about, pure primal thrash metal with little relent in the savagery or aggression.

(8/10 Martin Harris)