Three years ago, I encountered Hell:On’s ‘Age of Oblivion’ release and liked it a lot. It was a rock solid thrash album, reflecting influences by a multitude of bands that mean a lot to me. I must admit that I somehow missed the Ukrainian band’s next album, ‘Hunt’, which came out in 2013. This is what happens when you rely on labels and promo companies to send you new material: it doesn’t always happen. And with the, literally, hundreds of promos that we receive every year, there simply isn’t enough time in the world to do research and stay abreast of all the releases that come out every month.
Anyhoo, Ukraine’s finest have a new album out, and what’s the status?
Compared to three years ago, things aren’t that different, although some things are. I notice from the outset that opening track Filth has oriental elements incorporated. Interesting and works out great! The same goes for the horns and stuff in Lustration and I’m God.
Another thing I notice is that the riffing is more old-school – as in begin to mid-nineties – than I remember it being on the ‘Age of Oblivion’ album. Think Sepultura. This goes for most of the album.
Oh, and lo and behold! Who has contributed to the song Salvation in Death with a solo? Andreas Kisser! You can tell it’s him a mile off, and his sole fits into the song like fist in studded glove. My theory is that the Hell:On boys sat down and listened to Sepultura for a month, and it became their primary inspiration for ‘Once Upon a Chaos…’.
A couple of points of negative criticism: In my review of ‘Age of Oblivion’ I was complaining about vocalist Alexandr not providing enough variation in his performance. That’s still the case. The music of this band’s demand more of the vocals in my humble view. I know it’s a detail, but this is not my favourite snare drum sound, but, hey, that’s something I can live with.
‘Once Upon a Chaos…’ is in many respects a fine thrash album, and is well-worth checking out for fans of mid-nineties thrash.
03. Curse of Flesh
07. Salvation in Death (feat. Andreas Kisser)
08. I Am God
Playing time: 39 minutes
Release date: 31st of August, 2015