Hell is a a disjointed journey of genre-blending drone, doom, and sludge that raised above the muck to become something truly frightening. The quadratic beast joins forces to create the relentless group from Salem, beautifully crafted as Hell. The self-titled release from Hell is described as “the reaffirmation and consecration of one of modern doom’s most harrowing, demoralizing, and imaginative prospects” from Sentient Ruins Laboratories, a record label that specializes in destruction. Each moment in Hell takes a deeper and deeper plunge into the over sensualized black that engulf, becoming a cloud of despair.
Hell uses different tricks of the trade to illustrate an overbearing level of space within their long-winded journey of despair. The opening track, “Helmzmen” and the following track, “SubOdin” act as appetizers to a rough, punishing record of little to-no musical breaks. The noise and guitar shrieks that play a role as disguising some of the background noise are present. The droning noise butchers most of the tracks; leaving a wake of sound in their presence. With the terrorizing growls and howls from M.S.W. and the three guest vocalists that act as nothing more than bruisers alongside M.S.W., the sole-proprietor of the desolation laid out as Hell is truly painful and crushing. There are moments where Hell becomes overbearing, as the various sounds reign heavily over the listener; acting as a wave of immolation and a rough hatred. The whimsical use of practical effects and the moments where Hell truly shines, or punishes is when Hell acts with more haste behind their style.
On the following track, “Machitikos”, Hell starts off with a closer relation to waves as the pushing and pulling of the rumbling strings, the crashing of the cymbals, and the eventual shrieks of M.S.W. are indeed hellish to any literal sense of the word. Then, as “Machitikos” continues to thrive and eventually become fleshed, it becomes a ritualistic and torturing, begging for movement. Hell delivers with rapid-fire cymbal blasts and a guitar that is so unbelievably muddled, there is almost nothing but sound coming from the instrument. The way that M.S.W. conducts these orchestral moments and decides to instead shift then to a ghoulish style is continually interesting to see the adaptability behind his working. Hell is a long-ride, something that is covered by seven-tracks, but still long enough to mix the action and make four-years of recording seem like a breeze. The moments where Hell is at a standstill, where there is nothing but a subtle use of single guitar notes every other second, or the thumping of bass, that is where Hell takes a step back to assess what the damages are. These moments stand out as important for the way that they can make the truly damaging parts successful and engaging.
Hell is an inconsistent beast of variety and ever-changing flow. Without this flow, Hell would not be nearly as interesting or as manageable. With this great power of flow, Hell is able to escape beyond the boundaries and start to make moves beyond the playing field. It is apparent on the much later, more lengthy-track, “Victus” where Hell makes a stand and shifts multiple times in the near thirteen-minute track. The shouting comes naturally behind Hell; it is expected as the dooming behemoth moves toward the inevitable end. There is a great oppressive force that follows Hell where they act and capitalize on the punishment that is dished out from each track.
Hell is a destructive force of nature that holds nothing back from the continuous onslaught of despair and misery. M.S.W.’s voice is like nails that scratch under the surface of Hell, making an adventure out of just his lyrics and his wordplay. For the moments where Hell is not acting as an overseer of violence and doom, Hell is a droning material of noise that relinquishes the material, and goes for a minimalistic approach. Hell is a deep, mysterious journey that shifts the tides within its self, and makes Hell sound like a pretty unwelcoming place.