RSS Feed

Coagulating Darkness

Barbarian Wrath / Granite Factory (2017)
Rating: 9/10

If you don’t know who Hellripper are then it’s time to construct an altar in your living room and kneel down and worship a new deity. Born from darkest, and coldest Aberdeen in Scotland, Hellripper is the work of one man, namely James McBain, a chap who clearly knows his stuff when it comes to coughing up hateful, speeding blackened rasping thrash.

I’ve been a fan of this guy and his hellish cacophony since Hellripper’s debut work, 2015’s The Manifestation Of Evil EP, and since then he’s notched up a few notable split projects, but now comes the big one, the debut full-length offering Coagulating Darkness – a fetid, brisk, rattling, scathing, raw, primitive and, above all, brilliant eight-track manifestation whereby the bark is just as deadly as the bite.

McBain hasn’t consulted the book of how to be original, and you might be aware of numerous acts over the decades who’ve trodden a similar primitive road, but for me it’s about conviction and attitude, and Coagulating Darkness is a record that is full to the brim with overflowing darkness and satanic swagger.

Let’s cut to the chase. We get 26 minutes of blistering, no frills speed that takes, say, early Kreator and Bathory alongside just about every other devilish, speed metal act, throws it all in a blender, and the outcome is this; a batch of short, sharp shocks to the system that will no doubt shred your flesh while the other half is indulging in a spot of Eastenders. I guess it had to be swift and concise considering McBain has got other projects on the go (Lord Rot, Rats Of Reality etc.), and then there’s that devotion to almighty Satan as he belches out this nihilistic selection of acidic venom.

From ‘Bastard Of Hades’ through to ‘From Hell’ and finishing up with the title track, there’s never a let up for breath as each composition rattles by like Satan on a wayward scooter; one big frantic frenzy of biting, sneering yet catchy as Hell blow-darts to the windpipe.

McBain’s vocals are dry, scratchy rasps of nastiness, dredged up from Quorthon Seth’s cauldron of evil, along with eye of toad and wing of bat, with the likes of ‘Conduit Closing’, ‘Within The Everlasting Hellfire’ and, my favourite, ‘Anneliese’ being spat out like rusty lumps of angst-ridden and Satan-approved speed metal. And that’s what this despicable noise is; volatile, hostile speed metal played straight down the line. But it’s feverishly accessible – McBain whipping out killer solos, vicious percussion and those seething vocal flairs.

The pace is often quite frenzied, except for occasional suspenseful track intros and metallic build-ups, like on ‘Demdike (In League With The Devil)’, but the result is still the same; galloping high voltage speed metal with some stupendous traditional metal fury, as with ‘From Hell’. I’m transported back to some obscure, shady corner of the mid 80s where tight black leather jackets, black candles and bullet belts are all the rage. Damn, this is instant apocalyptic metal that daubs itself onto the psyche. This guy needs to be heard, because this is real, raw punked-up speed metal that even Lucifer would be proud of.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews