Heavy metal is something I enjoy. The simple and straight to the point, no nonsense attack of riffs which demand headbanging, the vocals which have that power and hypnotic effect which makes you want to raise your fist in the air, the sheer loudness and drive behind the music delivered, you get the picture – Heavy metal is great! Teutonic power trio Old Mother Hell are a heavy metal band, signed to a label which has a fair few good heavy metal bands on it already so given their company and making assumptions, it is a safe bet to say that this should be a promising release. With a background in the heavier side of metal, the three piece are aiming to cement their status as a force to be reckoned with. Destruction and Sodom make room, Old Mother Hell are planning to join you in the Teutonic metal elites!
The first thing you notice about this self-titled debut album is that it has a commanding atmosphere which spans the entire duration of the six track release. It has that dramatic edge where needed to help engage you, along with the tight musical delivery. The cutting guitar tones, rumbling basslines and pummelling drums all combine to form a tight-knit metal onslaught which instantly brings images of long flowing locks, spandex/denim/leather, dramatic poses and many other things you would associate with the NWOBHM and heavy metal golden years era. Opening track “Mountain” mixes the standard metal chug with the vigorous galloping lines to demonstrate the band’s rhythmic prowess and the follow up track “Narcotic Overflow” brings memories of mid-80’s Iron Maiden with its powerful riffs and moody harmony arrangements.
“Another War” makes excellent use of the drums in its intro to create a real build-up feel. Add in the slightly droning guitar riffs and haunting vocals, it creates an atmosphere which brings that sense of anticipation for when it kicks in, and it does kick in! The galloping rhythm, melodic choruses and simplistic lead lines go hand in hand with the solid vocal display and in all; it keeps the momentum of the release going in a positive direction. “Howling Wolves” slows the pace a little to begin with, but by sacrificing the surging pace, it allows for more rich melodic displays. The track has some interesting bass melodies and of course, the staple NWOBHM-friendly guitar lines. Fast in the verse and powerful in the chorus, it’s a great song which really draws everything displayed on this release so far, together in a well-rounded format.
The final two tracks, “Kneel To No God” and the eponymous closing track are the focal point of the release for me. Both tracks go full out with all the tricks you can think of. Atmospheric displays, clever utilisation of musical space, tight rhythms and expressive melodic progressions, the pair of tracks really cap the album off in a stylish manner. “Kneel To No God” has a teasing nature to it, dipping in and out of chugging riffs and clever sequence changes to mix it up whilst the eight minute album closer “Old Mother Hell” has that epic air to it, much like some of the classic Iron Maiden anthems ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, ‘Infinite Dreams’ and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ – it’s bold nature, surging forwards with the powerful riffs and intense vocal delivery, shifting to a captivating clean breakdown and a very slick guitar solo which really wraps the song up in style.
Overall, “Old Mother Hell” is a great debut effort from a very promising metal act. Its only downside is the duration, it just doesn’t last long enough in my mind, but it has a high replayability factor so that is the positive in the drawback at least. In all, it’s got everything you want for a traditional heavy metal sound, so get ready to raise your fists and headbang away!