Formed in 1997, Polish blackened death metallers Hell United has emerged as one of the best bands within their country and region. They have not matched the heights of Behemoth, Vader, or Decapitated yet, bands who they in sound have much in common with, but have certainly earned the reputation as one of the more impressive aural creators of blasphemy and violence. Their latest album Aura Damage will not change the position of the but with its demanding sounds and violating invention concretes their place as to the fore of Polish underground extreme metal.
Initially called Eclypse, the Tarnów quartet recorded an unreleased album The Human Abstract in 1999, though two tracks emerged re-recorded in their first demo Omen the following year. 2004 saw their debut album Applause: JHVH Elohim Met released leading to an intensive schedule of live shows and line-up problems. From this the re-named Hell United emerged with the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Void, bassist Bartollo, guitarist Rzulty, and drummer Dügy, and in 2007 the demo Extra-Strength Of The Obscure followed a year later by the album HornoKracy. The next two years saw the band playing the United Death Armageddon tour, in 2008 and 2009, alongside the likes of MasseMord, Blaze Of Perdition, and Mord’A’Stigmata. A two version mini album came out in 2011, as The Third Sigil of Destruction in cassette form and as Abhorrence Majesty on vinyl whilst last year held the recording of Aura Damage after the band played shows with Ulcerate, Furia, and Intestinal. Now released via Hellthrasher Productions the album maintains the band as one which it is impossible not to spend time with.
It has to be said that the album does not ignite a furnace of passions for its undoubtedly accomplished and inventive sounds due to a lack of anything startlingly new or different to other imaginative bands and releases, yet whilst in its venomous company Aura Damage leaves no room for distractions or a yearning to go elsewhere. Hell United is a skilled and provocative band in sound and invention, and one to which destructive violence and insidious violation is second nature. From the opener Red Limitations, a track which leaves the listener cowering under its towering riffs and rhythmic violence, the band piles on the oppressive intensity and corrosive malevolence. It is savage and unrelenting with a mission to snap wills and consume senses, something it does with little resistance.
The excellent Apostle Of Plague takes over the assault next, the torrential raining down of ravenous rhythms and twisted intrusive sonics alongside the grasping scowling vocals, riveting within its tempest. Throughout the bass prowls and snarls with a predatory hunger which is sensational and one of the most thrilling aspects of the whole release.
Deathlike Cold with its creeping malignancy which wraps itself around the ear with a serpentine relish offers an immediate diversity though the track soon explodes into another carnally driven ravishment of ear and beyond, whilst tracks like Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and the title track engage no thought of no restraint and savage the listener from first note to last whilst offering an evolving expanse of sonic grooves and blood spilling aural hate. Arguably the album is most adventurous and intriguing within its later tracks such as the doom gaited Hinterland and more specifically the furnace of intensity that is In Odore Sanctitatis and the closer Totality Of I, the first of the pair a rabid leap into the abyss of energy and intent lit by masterful sonic flames and the second another heavy mass of slowly ravishing doom soaked consumption.
Aura Damage is technically outstanding but one which just lacks a spark to ignite strong passion for the admittedly impressively crafted sounds and songs. Hell United is a band nevertheless which ensures its company is well worth the violence on offer.
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