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Hell - 'Curse And Chapter' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3d/71/61/hell-curse-and-chapter-46-1391391732.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 03, 2014    
 
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Even better than the debut ... an absolute must for serious metal fans!

Back in the days when I was young, dumb and full of something fairly salacious, there was a thriving local scene here in the East Midlands. Spearheaded by bands like Saracen, Limelight, Savage and latterly Stateline, it kept the local rock crowd fairly busy with barely a week going by without some transparent opportunity to quaff a few beers and harass the local fillies ... and then there was Hell.

Hell were different; far too theatrical and technically adroit to fit in with the average NWOBHM tub thumpers, their twisted musical vision was in essence a much better fit for serious musos like Rush. Their story is one littered with triumph, frustration and tragedy (of which I won't go into here), but when their fabled debut got shelved indefinitely in 1986 by Mausoleum, it looked as if their contribution to the world of metal would be lost forever as far as a wider audience was concerned.

Step forward renowned producer Andy Sneap – who as a kid was a regular at Hell shows – because it's in no small part thanks to him that the Hell reunion of a couple of years ago not only gained traction, but has already produced one truly fantastic album in 'Human Remains'. O.K., for obvious reasons original frontman Dave Halliday couldn't be a part of that reunion, but wherever he is I like to think he was looking down and would have approved of what they were doing. Now, after a relentless bout of touring taking in festivals around Europe and supporting the likes of Accept, Hell are about to bounce back with album number two, 'Curse And Chapter'.

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Whereas 'Human Remains' liberally raided the vaults to bring life anew into a clutch of seasoned Hell classics, this release is split roughly 50/50 between older ideas and brand new tracks. To the casual observer the difference won't be immediately discernible, so credit to those involved in writing the new songs as they continue the long established Hell legacy admirably!

Given the success of 'Human Remains' it won't be that much of a surprise to learn that 'Curse And Chapter' continues forward in a similar fashion; deliciously twisted melodies, crunching riffs and atmospheric melodrama assaulting the senses at every opportunity. In Dave Bower they actually achieved the unimaginable (finding somebody to pick up where Dave Halliday left off), and on this release he really comes into his own, leading the charge like some deliciously demented ringmaster through the inspired brilliance of tracks like 'Gehennae Incendiis/The Age Of Nefarious', 'Darkangel', 'End Of Days' and 'The Vespertine Legacy'.

Even better than the debut ... an absolute must for serious metal fans!

Dave Cockett

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