This is definitely a band I was quite thrilled to review for the first time. As a huge fan of the early 90s Death Metal era, Bolt Thrower and especially Benediction are two bands I rank among the elite of UK Extreme Metal. Even from a retrospective case, still stand tall over all the modern day greats that are wreaking havoc now. So upon the unfortunate news of Bolt Throwers cease fire it was truly exciting to hear that Karl Willets and Andrew Whale joined forces with Benediction’s long time bassist Frank Healey and touring guitarist Scott Fairfax (both also former members of UK treasure’s Cerebral Fix).
The Hellfire Demos II released through legendary record label Nuclear Blast (Benediction’s ex-label) offers quite the taster by firing a few warning rounds before the siege of artillery strikes that will reign upon us 24th March 2017 when their debut full length For the Fallen drops. With the combined repertoire of Bolt Thrower’s perfectionist approach and Benediction’s “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, The Hellfire Demos II provides a very decent barrage of riffs that I could only expect from such artists, but still maintain such a raw and simplistic yet brutal attack that they have always stayed true to for the last 30 years. I do however feel that this is a little too early to make any full judgement on the path this may lead with their debut LP coming out very soon and is only just the beginning. Deep down I knew that Willets and Whale were not going to give mourning Bolt Thrower fans much time to grieve and “rising from the ashes” feels very apt to mark such a great return to form.
I really do look forward to what Memoriam have to offer in the future and have such confidence they prove more than just their relevance in the current extreme metal climate, but they will still stand tall over many bands that will try (and fail). With a few shows coming up in the next few months including Glasgow’s Lords of the Land festival and Southampton Annihilation Festival, I really feel the best is yet to come and these Death Metal outlaws are only just getting started.
01. Drone Strike
02. Surrounded (By Death)
Karl Willets – Vocals
Frank Healy – Bass
Scott Fairfax – Guitar
Andy Whale – Drums