May 23, 2024

Look at that cover and tell me you don’t know already this will contain some kind of total metal old school madness. Well, you’d be damn right. Hellbutcher is the brand new band, formed by (and named after) the frontman of now inactive Swedish black/thrash legends Nifelheim. The other musicians helping with writing and recording this self-titled debut album are also using their respective stage names, but we are basically talking about an all-star band of extreme metal, with Martin Axenrot (Bloodbath, ex-Opeth, ex-Witchery) on drums, Dan G Andersson (Mordant) and Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed, Firespawn, ex-Necrophobic) on guitars and Frode Kilvik (Aeternus, Gaahls Wyrd) on bass. As you see, that’s a very serious line-up with great experience and knowledge of the genre and the scene so expectations were already high when I pressed “play” on this promo.

First single and video The Sword Of Wrath sets the tone for the whole album perfectly, with a frenetic blackened thrash on top of a subtle sense for melody and some fantastic old school solos. Perdition screams “early Kreator” and can fit seamlessly somewhere in the Pleasure To Kill tracklist, while Hordes Of The Horned God slows the tempo a bit and adds more atmosphere and a black metal feeling. Overall this is a style similar to what we know from Nifelheim, but the main differences here are several: the songs and riffs are better, they are more memorable and slightly more melodic and most importantly – the guitar solos are much more NWOBHM-influenced and elaborated in Hellbutcher. Satan’s Power is an absolute headbanging inferno, with the expected evil lyrics and once again stellar guitar work. The closing track Inferno’s Rage is one of the most extreme and almost threatens to fall off the rails into a chaotic barrage of noise but it once again amazes with very clever and masterful harmonized guitar melodies underneath the chorus. Brilliant stuff.

The fantastic artwork mentioned in the beginning of this review adds to the whole experience and it is amazing that it was drawn by no other but Hellbutcher himself. This is what I call devotion to the metal cause. This album is already a highlight in this year’s extreme metal and I am looking forward to witness this band obliterate the audience live. If you’ve ever worshipped on the altar of early Bathory, Venom or Kreator, mixed with some classic Iron Maiden and an evil nineties-era black metal atmosphere, Hellbutcher is an album just for you and for all true old school metal maniacs.

9/10


Hellbutcher in Facebook

Hellbutcher will be out on May 31st via Metal Blade Records and can be pre-ordered from HERE