BaphometsI love the Iron Bonehead roster much like Hells Headbangers as well, their roster of bands are some of the most vicious and vile on the planet, plus when you order from them they are efficient and understand the importance of well packaged records as I’ve purchased a few times from them as my next purchase will be this fourth full length from Italian dirty speedsters Baphomet’s Blood who criminally have evaded my speed metal radar since the mid 2000s.

Baphomet’s Blood owe much of their approach to the mid 80s speed metal from bands like Iron Angel, Living Death and Warrant to name a few. However I was surprised to see that this album starts with an eight minute tune, though a good portion of it is some sort of sample, possibly film based that I didn’t recognise stating the intention of the album via its quote of “In The Name Of Satan… Ruler Of The Earth…”. It does go on a bit, two minutes or so as a symphonic choir (like “O’Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana) takes over ready for the tune to begin properly. [It’s from The Lords Of Salem horror buff editor]. The elongated build up of double kick and repeating riff is similar to Slayer’s Hell Awaits in some respects by minute four the speed riff bursts in. The speed is cranked up too and immediately this gets a tick of approval for the guitar sound as it definitely resides in the 80s though a tad more polished overall. The title track has a feel of old Motörhead on the riff but with a high velocity double kick saturating the track. Speed metal isn’t about finesse or acrobatic song arrangements, it’s about fist pumping aggression via memorable riffs and catchy choruses and these Italians were probably weaned on molten steel as a result.

“Hellbreaker” is what you’d expect, the riff blazes in with accompanying cymbal smashing to signal the start as here they sound like their compatriots Violentor. A short fade in for “Underground Demons” reveals a purer heavy metal style though the speed is much faster and has a touch of early Razor about it. Bordering Priest like on “Infernal Overdrive” especially from the “Painkiller” album the tune is far more restrained but no less invigorating on the ear as the tune chops around riff wise over its six minutes as occasional pitch increases are accompanied by sporadic changes in speed especially when it dips into Venom territory and debut Slayer too. Using a sample start “Whiskey Rocker” is what you’d expect though the sample is just plain weird until the riff rockets in and is very like Finnish demons Speedtrap but also Iron Angel as I mentioned earlier. The album closes with a cover of “Eleg” by a Hungarian band called Fáraó that I enjoyed so much I checked them out for their own stuff only to find one demo from 1986 and a full length from last year. The tune is great if a little tacky but it’s a heads down neck snapping joy with chanted choral vocals and a scorching hot riff fest just like this whole album is.

(8.5/10 Martin Harris)