The release of their self-titled debut EP in 2016 suggested that Welsh thrashers Helldown had all the attributes to ascend the UK metal ranks, a thought accentuated by their subsequent acclaimed single The Watchers a year later. Now that proposal is about to be made a declaration with the release of new EP, In Deaths Hands, a collection of tracks which whilst suggesting that there is plenty more yet to come from the Swansea outfit, that ascent is well under way.
Formed in 2013 and consisting of blood brothers in vocalist/bassist Ben and rhythm guitarist Matthew Evans alongside drummer Ross Thomas and lead guitarist Lewis Larkman, Helldown have forged a sound bred on thrash, groove, and heavy metal. As the new release shows it is a potent trespass with thrash metal its instinctive fuel, one still enjoyably raw in its voice and tone to provide an edge and bite numerous like-minded bands have let escape in their growth. True uniqueness may still be absent in the band’s voracious sound but as In Deaths Hands proves it can be comfortably overlooked in the fresh trespass on offer.
The EP opens with The Unnamed, a track instantly entangling ears in ripe grooves and preying rhythms before launching into a predacious assault. The sonic invasion and enticement of both guitars make for a keen tempting, Ben’s vocals as the sound earthy yet magnetic within the harassment of riffs and rhythmic aggression. The subsequent twists and melodic endeavour that emerges revels in the prowess of their creators, the track a persistent hungry nagging endowed with that bright enterprise.
The EP’s best track is followed by Mortal Shell, another swiftly revealing intent and character with rapacious urgency. If at first paling against its predecessor, the track only grew in stature and appeal as its ravening riffs and grooves joined bitter beats and the heavy dark resonance of the bass to forge another thickly satisfying proposal.
There is a definite surface familiarity between the songs within In Deaths Hands, the beginning of next up Heretic highlighting the thought yet again it is a track which develops its own presence and enterprise with strength and imagination, the bass of Ben a riveting ingredient in the prowl of the ear grabbing encounter.
Flames of Heresy bring things to a close, its spirals of grooves waspish in their sting and barbarous in the subsequent harassment they inspire from across the band. The gang hollers that break out only emphasize the anthemic air and roar of the track, even as it prowls and stalks the senses between raucous eruptions.
It is a fine end to a release which only left us wanting to hear more from the band and reinforced the thought that Helldown has a very healthy future within the British metal scene.
In Deaths Hands is released January 17th
Pete RingMaster 14/01/2020
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