As January shared its last days, Hell was unleashed in the form of the debut Mean Messiah album. It was the re-release of an invasion of the senses which left only one question in its furious wake. Just how did we like so many others, miss it first time around.
The release is an ear withering, pleasure igniting storm of industrial death/thrash metal with much more to its irritable heart and searing blaze of sound. To simplify things it is a tempest resembling a raging tapestry of Revocation, Strapping Young Lad, and Fear Factory woven with strands of the likes of Cryptopsy, Blood Simple, and Static X yet stands as something distinctly individual to the imagination and roar of Mean Messiah.
The Czech Republic hailing band started out as the one man project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Dan Friml, formerly of Sebastian, Apostasy and many other projects. The winter of 2005 saw him begin work on his first album, its release intended for the following year but delayed and delayed by numerous problems and complications before being completed in 2013. Since then its line-up has expanded, bassist Veronika Smetanová and drummer Honza Šebek joining Friml as he took Mean Messiah live, proceeding to play the biggest festivals in the Czech Republic such as Masters Of Rock, Czech Death Fest, Agressive Fest, Basinfirefest, and Gothoom.
With the band working on a second album for release later this year to follow 2016 EP Let Us Pray, Mean Messiah and Via Nocturna has uncaged Hell again for a formidable and compelling reminder and wake up call for fans and newcomers alike. With its concept themed by people´s varied complicated journeys and destinies inevitably leading to hell, the album makes a calm, welcoming entrance though dark clouds and portentous sounds are soon looming over and invading the imagination as opener Temple of Hell grows in ears. Melodies are enticing yet sinister, rhythms predatory but restrained until throwing off their deceit and storming the barricades. From there grooves and hooks seduce as riffs and beats persist in their invasive intent as Friml’s potent tones snarl. That earlier descriptive comparison is in full swing as the track shares its dangerous and captivating virulence.
The track is superb, using familiar textures in a new and fresh design before being matched in might and success by King Pathetic. The strong unpredictability underlining its predecessor is potent again, and across the whole album to be fair, prowling the vicious rhythmic tenacity and intoxicatingly venomous melodic and sonic web covering the song. Bracing and intrusive, things are punishingly catchy as thrash and death metal enterprise roar with angry rapacity as industrial essences beckon further involvement in the progressively toned fury.
As the second built on and eclipsed the first, Spiritual Resolution breaches a new plateau of persuasion next, scavenging and thrilling the senses with its nagging choleric character while The Death Song with matching toxic dispute stalks and savages the listener with raw infectious enterprise. The first of the two weaves progressively honed melodic suggestiveness while the second lets its bestial ferocity drive the thrilling show.
Hell is the perfect name for sound and theme within the album, the first echoing and fuelling the latter as found in The Last Ride which follows. In many ways the outstanding song is the least corrosive on the album, its swinging rhythms and magnetic grooves rousing infection but there is no escaping its instinctive animosity and barb littered acrimony. With orchestral beauty and atmospheric harmonies colluding with warm melodies, it is sheer magnetism, only intriguing and griping tighter as its growing imagination borders schizophrenic.
The Game gnaws on the senses next, its riffs and beats an enjoyably persistent abrasion colluding with lust igniting electronics. Its irresistible stomp provides another appetite inflaming highlight within Hell, one more to the growing list joined by the dark instrumental climate and dance of Saltatio Mortis and the fiercely catchy caustic devouring of ears and soul cast by The End. Folk bred hues unite with extreme and groove spawn endeavour in the first with its successor a brawl of truculent rock ‘n’ roll, both as imaginative and expectations defeating as they are, certainly in the case of the second, emotionally primal.
Completed by bonus track Remedy, another ridiculously tempting slab of thrash nurtured, creatively evocative music which needs no vocal side to excite and inspire the imagination, Hell grabs the listener by the throat and takes them on one brutally thrilling ride from start to finish. It also lays down a mighty benchmark its successor will be judged by but it is hard to imagine Mean Messiah failing to live up to the challenge with their now keenly anticipated second full-length.
Hell is out now through Via Nocturna across most online stores digitally and on CD.
Pete RingMaster 07/02/2017
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