Hellsword – Cold is the Grave

Band: Hellsword
Title: Cold is the Grave
Label: Emanzipation Productions
Release date: 24 September 2021
Country: Slovenia
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

I must admit it: I love Blackened Speed Metal. When I saw a promo photo of the guys in Hellsword (with all those spikes, chains and bullets belts, FFS!) I just felt curious; “at least they have the appropriate look”, I thought, and I felt the need to check their music. Plus, another Black/Speed Metal band starting with “Hell”? Ok, let’s see (…) And now I can tell you, I’m more than happy that I chose this album ‘cause it’s a total blast! 

Hellsword is an unholy trio hailing from Slovenia, and the nicknames of these guys will give you hints enough about how they are expected to sound: they are Ironfist at guitars and vocals, Mark Massakre at drums and Mike Manslaughter at bass. The band was formed in 2009 and after a demo from 2011 and an EP from 2014, here it is their debut full-length album. More than 42 minutes of ear aggression. That sounds delightful!

The album starts with a wicked riff, then the bass and the drums incorporate to the track, and after a minute intro, Hell gates are wide open and from there emerge the sinister voice that will drag you to the deepest murk… “Cold is the Grave” is a great opener, a killer track! Some changing tempos do the trick here, and oh when the guitar solo comes… If you are not thrashing like a maniac while listening to it, well, there’s a problem with you. 

Hellsword sound may be typical, of course these guys are not doing anything new. Is this a bad thing? A big “NO!” here. For me it’s awesome that an album released in 2021 can sound as if it was from a few decades ago. They have that distinctive “dirty” sound of the bass, the killer and infectious riffs, the relentless drums… and, let me warn you that this guy doesn’t beat his drumkit in an ultra-fast pace all the time, it’s Speed Metal of course but not at a stratospheric velocity, and there are some pace changes all along the album, for which I’m grateful, because this is an even more enjoyable thing. 

“Call of the Sepulchre” is a hell of a song! I had to put it on repeat the first time I listened to the album, and I don’t use to do that. It’s catchy, sounds familiar, the pace drives me crazy and that bass… pure fire! And don’t get off the train ‘cause here comes “Satan, Death and Fear” and it’s like another thrashing speedy anthem! Honestly, there’s no filler in this album. “Cursed Blood” refrains the speed for a while, but hey, there are still 4 steaming tracks! 

And, to end this fantastic album, there’s one track totally fueled by speed and dirtiness, “Evil’s Rebirth” is the icing on the cake, the crazy guitar solo will lead you to a state of craving for more…

“The churches will rise, world’s evil demise
The cities will burn
The all-seeing eyes see no allies
The son of evil awaits his return” 

With this on repeat while guitars and drums lead you into a mad frenzy, this metal trio returns to their infamous grave and all we can do now is go and listen to this album again and again, until our entire bodies are tired of thrashing. One last recommendation: listen to it at high volume using some good headphones. For me this is a solid 9/10   Sílvia

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9/10 Epic Storm
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