Hellripper
The Manifestation of Evil EP

When James McBain the guitarist/vocalist of the excellent Rats of Reality isn’t breaking apart Pangaea with that band’s blackened, demonic d-beat, he’s at the helm of his solo project Hellripper.  He’s a veritable one man wrecking crew playing all of the instruments (aside from Mark Lerche’s lead on “Trial by Fire”) and the end result is Venom with a dash of Lemmy. Therefore the end results sounds like recent Midnight releases, albeit the vocals are slightly leaned towards a death metal persuasion (not always…still plenty of cackling screams on hand) and the drums are programmed.  Those looking for originality on Hellripper’s debut are going to be left choking in the drought.  There is absolutely zero uniqueness to be found.  However, if you’re a fan of this throwback sound (and I am in spades), you aren’t knocking on this door to hear the next evolution in metal.  You want it raw and by damn you’ll get it raw on The Manifestation of Evil.

“Flesh Ripper” has a dingy feedback intro that is directly lifted from Welcome to Hell and Satanic Royalty, respectively.  In its wake our guts are a given a thrash/crust/blackened hard rock autopsy full of scalpel riffs we’ve heard a million times since the dawn of this sound, but boy do they drive hard the nails of conviction into a song structure catchier than the clap.  The bass is punk as fuck, the electronic d-beat is a nonstop shithammer, McBain’s vocals are a gravelly sneer and those leads fly the banner of ol’ fashioned hard-rock like a victory flag (set to a speed metal pace, of course!).  This shit is just a belligerently drunken good time that’ll it set your living room curtains on fire, piss on grandma’s Persian rug and end the night by assfucking your woman into oblivion.

Fans of wild ass, rollicking crusty rock riffs ala Inepsy, Midnight and Motörhead will shit a forty foot log over “Total Mayhem.”  This tune is an anthem from hell with a big, bloody pentagram branded onto its forehead.  You won’t be able to get that simplistic, chorus vocal hook and riff rampage outta your melon for days on end.  From the very first note I was fuckin’ in love and ready to take this dog headed bitch to the altar.  If this cut got you hard, then the similarly rockin’ “Black Mass Sacrifice” will have your eyes rolling into the back of your skull.  This motherfucker brings a bit of desecrated, palm-muted thrashing to James’ table of terror (Slayer fans take note), though groove is never in short supply.  The riffing sheds its upbeat, graveyard party punk swing on “Trial by Fire.”  Vocally, this is a foul, stinkin’ abomination of higher shrieks and vomiting roars with the instrumentation adopting a dirtier guitar tone while the general darkness invoked is a bleaker and blacker sack of worms all around.  Rarely is the tension relieved for this jam’s initial 3/4…but just when you think you know which turn it will take a kingly procession of harmonized guitar licks light up the sky brighter than bombs over Baghdad.

I’m diggin’ this shit.  If you seek metal that bends the boundaries of creativity, technical bravura and unheard of genre crosspollination, Hellripper won’t do a damn thing for you.  Still, there’s a pack of us clinging to the old guard like the mast of a sinking ship with a hull ripped to Swiss cheese by a cannonball barrage.  Flashy and different is cool too in the heavy underground, but we as metal fans still need that primal urge satiated.  If your veins are pumping primate blood like mine, The Manifestation of Evil is just the wooly mammoth you’ve been lookin’ to club.  Good shit.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
July 8th, 2015

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