Picture the scene, after one flawed but certain success Victor Frankenstein’s ambitions go full out to feed his appetite for rabid music. So with bodies embalmed with the raw irreverence of Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, the ravenous metallic animus of Morgue Orgy, the virulent contagion of Dope, and the punk mischief of Dirt Box Disco, he created EviL-P, BeLiaL, GRavES, BeeLzEBeN, and SaTurNiST to spread the red and devour the soul. Or it might simply have been the Devil which dragged Hell Puppets from their English graves to conjure and release the lustful addiction that is Theatre of Sin.
The debut album from the Sussex bred quintet is a carnivorous vaudeville of horror and creative drama cast across a dozen songs which just thrust a knife of contagion through the heart and continually twist it with a bounty of punk ferocity, metal predation, and rock ‘n’ roll devilry. It drew a big grin on the first listen and a lustful stalking from the second, and fair to say since its release a couple of weeks or so back, we are not alone in adding the release to our cellar of favourites.
With members hailing from London, Brighton, Chichester and Lucifer’s right hand, Hell Puppets emerged in 2011 infusing inspirations from the likes of White Zombie, Pantera, Sex Pistols, Slayer, and Misfits into their swift attention grabbing fusion of punk and metal draped in horror, the occult, and Demonism. The first year saw the band solely concentrate on creating and honing their sonic infestation before setting out on their live scourge of the UK. A live session for a local radio station marked the growing emergence of the band during the next year before in 2013 they began recording debut EP No Strings Attached which was released in the following January. An increasing number of acclaim garnering shows surrounding its well-received introduction to the band and since with a support slot with The Hell later in 2014 another highlight. It was a successful year certainly eclipsed by this, as fresh from playing Bloodstock and touring with Meta-Stasis in support of their debut album, we simply have Theatre of Sin.
From the opening carnage of Bow Bells, band and album has ears and imagination gripped. The brief track is a visceral scene setter for the following …From Hell, a blood dripping, flesh ripping introduction to the murderous streets of Victorian Whitechapel and the lust of Jack The Ripper which its successor impressively runs with. The second track to a concussive ring of bells rolls out an epidemic of inciting rhythms and growling vocals within a horde of punk riffs and tenacious hooks. All those bands initially mentioned come to thoughts as the track throws its sinew loaded attitude and mischievous insanity across the senses, yet as good as a hint that they are, the track is something demonically distinct to Hell Puppets, as too it emerges, the album. The band certainly cuts straight to the chase with the best track on Theatre Of Sin but there is no downward slope to follow, even if tracks can only closely sniff at the brilliance of the full opener.
Hung, Drawn and Slaughtered is one which runs it close, its blackened soul and horror punk fury colluding in another quick slavery of infectious hooks, grooves, and unpredictability. As many songs within the album there is a familiarity to it which seduces with the charm classic evil always has, a broad smile which captivates as djent kissed riffs and death instilled voracity works away at the senses and psyche narrated by the varied squalls of vocal animus.
From that metallic tempest another in the caustic shape of Born To Die steps forward, its body a maelstrom of glam and hard rock with punk ‘n’ roll tendencies aligned to metal ferocity. It is a stomp which seizes neck muscles and vocal chords to do its bidding before Project Mayhem uncages its primal anthemic roar laying somewhere between Black Dahlia Murder and Therapy?, and Political Diarrhoea taps into the punk beds of The Damned, The Vibrators, and Misfits for its rapacious stroll and lyrical agenda which gets the job done without fuss or wastage.
From an imposing shadow cast by the classic shark attack sound, complete with nasal secretions, the deranged hardcore fuelled roar of Drugged Up Shark excites and disorientates leaving ears prey to the clutches of Halloween, the band’s Christmas song. Only kidding, but it is a track which just keeps giving from its Carpenter inspired theme and melodic coaxing through to its grungy death infused sonic rancor. The track is glorious, another revealing new nuances and defiling attributes with very listen, much as We Are The Enemy and its whirlpool of insidious death metal, bracing rock ‘n’ roll, and juicy grooving. Imagine The Sex Pistols, Turbonegro, and Venom severely shaken until their juices merge and you get a glimpse of another big highlight amongst many within Theatre of Sin.
Morbid Mirror twists and turns like a clawed seductress next, its lithe grooves and rasping vocals bringing a mix of Grumpynators and Murderdolls whilst slipping into richer blackened spite throughout, especially vocally. Once more ears and emotions are lost to Hell Puppets and kept by firstly the bestial, mordant sound of The Decunted and finally the mouth-watering discord and sonic antipathy of Face the Reaper. The track is a bad-blooded smog of noise and sonic pollution which just brings the bedlamic acts of Theatre of Sin to a fitting ravenous climax.
The album is a wonderful desecration of body and soul and if any of those bands we mentioned as hints appeal, as well as something new and dirty to the touch, and the fact the Hell Puppets is our new favourite trespass, then hopefully we have incited you to be brave and enter the Theatre of Sin.
Theatre of Sin is available now via Hell Puppets’ Bandcamp.
Pete Ringmaster 15/09/2015
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