Gateways to Hades

The putrid, unholy sickness that is today’s Blackened Speed/Thrash Metal movement (I mean that in the most sincerely loving way) has managed to infect a pretty large portion of the world at this point. To be honest, it seems like they’re popping out everything. Pretty much where there’s air to breathe, there’s a group of young metalheads clad in black leather and denim ripping, away on their guitars with reckless, hedonistic abandon in celebration of all things Satan and FECKIN’ METAL.

That said, to this point, the eastern block (outside of Germany and Poland) has been surprisingly quiet on the matter. The only band of note that I can immediately recall to recent memory, is Serbia’s Terrörhammer (don’t come at me with whatever band you think I should know about I’M WORKING ON IT), and the biggest reason for their limited exposure, it seems, was due to it having been formed by current Gorgoroth front man, Atterigner (briefly known as WarBeast Holocausto). His time with the band, however, was very brief. Upon Atterigner’s departure to focus his efforts on Gorgoroth, fellow founder and guitarist Pentagramator the Helltyrant (amazing moniker) said “fuck it” and kept the thing going without him. And thank Antichrist! Because 10 years, one full-length and a couple EPs later, Terrörhammer is here to bring us an absolute blast of an album that takes everything you love about the genre, and punches it up to 11.

Gateways to Hades is a prime example of an album finding success through its simplicity. It’s also the band’s first release featuring a full cast of full-time members (albeit, it’s only 3 dudes), which shows in the confidence of the band’s impeccable execution. Terrörhammer knows you, me, your mom (?) and everyone else is here for one thing – THE RIFFS. After setting the table perfectly with a spooky, 80’s slasher-vibey intro, they punch you with a doozy of a riff on the appropriately titled “At Dawn We Attack,” an all-out assault from start to finish with finger-shredding, neck-snapping guitar work and tight, busy drumming that sounds the equivalent of shoving an entire jar of nuclear-grade horseradish up your ass and haphazardly jumping into the running of the bulls. You’ll find a similar blitzkrieg attack on “Blizzard of Blood,” which, beyond the blistering riffs, further shows off the insane drum work of Igor Kuzmanović (AKA Debilczyna) who puts on an absolute clinic, seemlessly switching between relentless blasts, D-Beats and a flurry of fills that leave you out of breath. It’s his drumming that takes a track like album closer “Tronized Goat Master” from being a really good song, to an absolute banger – expertly accentuating Pentagramator’s wrist-disintegrating tremolo picking with blasts that would give a metronome catastrophic failure in about 6 seconds, but ready to lay down a superb groove at the drop of a dime when called for – and boy do they ever call for it about 3:20 in, launching into a massive groove highlighted by bassist U-Predator 47’s rumbling bass lines that will shake the teeth right out of your skull.

It’s not all full-speed ahead, however. In fact, some of the band’s most memorable material manifests when they take the foot off the accelerator a touch – such as on the inescapably catchy “Midnight Patrol” whose black n’ roll vibes could easily be mistaken for a Bewitcher track. It’s a punky, upbeat affair with a totally necessary chanting “HEY!” section that will go down like the finest of whiskeys in a live setting, and puts the band’s ability to write earworms on par with their ability to melt faces, a balance not everyone can pull off so successfully. “Transylvanian Whore” certainly showcases this ability as well, this time putting their Motorhead worship to good use and providing another track capable of making you windmill on command while simultaneously making your toes mindlessly tap along.

On an album like this, I often find the best ones often have the shortest reviews (and for me, this is a quick one). Over-explanation just isn’t necessary. Do you like banging your head to really gnarly riffs? Can you get down with the likes of Sodom, Nifelheim and Demiser? Are you down to clown with Beelzebub themselves? If the answer is yes to any or all of these, you’re gonna friggin’ love this one, just as I do. It’s about as simple as that. Get your hands on this and get ready for some good, sleezy, sadistic fun.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
December 8th, 2022


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