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As the Australian death metal scene grows, many bands loaded with talent and potential are overlooked and remain unnoticed. Grindhead Records weren’t going to overlook these Aussie mettallers, and the latest release from Hell Itself, the 3-track Self Skinned single, shows a band with plenty of potential, skill, and a little bit of room to grow and evolve.
Self Skinned is a heavy death metal album, carrying a lot of hardcore influence that shows through in the song writing, the style of play and the finished product. These guys make it work for them, too. With slick production, death metal roots and the aforementioned hardcore influence, Hell Itself are definitely a band to watch out for as their musical career blossoms.
The guitar work is fresh and heavy, if at times flying dangerously close to deathcore. When this happens, it isn’t long before a melodic death metal solo or ultra-slick riff grabs the whole direction of the song and throws it right back into the death metal genre. These guys display a well-rounded knowledge of their music, and really stand out when you compare guitar work of this quality to a lot of other Australian artists.
The percussion is the standout element of this album, no doubt in mind. The drums on this release are written from what sounds like a technical death metal, or even a melodic death metal perspective – they weave their way through a series of complex sounding twists, beats and cymbal tapping, before slowing down to a sludgy-slow piece of writing that compliments the guitars perfectly. Not once does the drumming take over, it merely supports the rest of the album, enhancing all the sounds as the three tracks progress. After a few listens, you really get a feel for the outstanding job the drummer is doing.
The bass in this album is at a good level in the mix. Quite a few Aussie bands have the production a touch skewwhiff, with certain elements taking over where they shouldn’t, but Clayton Segelov and Jay Miller did a great job during production, and the bass sits at a level where it helps show off the rest of the music, while demanding your attention subtly. The bassist does a pretty good job of writing, rattling his way under the guitars dutifully across this single.
The vocalist on this release is where you really feel the hardcore influence strongest. While he uses a strictly death metal style of vocals, his voice just has that ‘hardcore’ sound to it, as though he could do much more with his voice. The growls on this single are pretty cool, drawing influence from the death metal icons, and the group vocals towards the end of Bloodless (track 3) sound a bit like a big dog barking, making for a really enjoyable sound.
This band is definitely one to watch out for. Hell Itself demand your full attention the moment you press play on Self Skinned, and your full attention you shall give. The only real detractor from this release is that it is a single. Three songs just isn’t long enough, you want the music to just keep on playing. So keep your eyes peeled for this single and check it out as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.
-Written by Josh Laing
- Originally written for http://www.grindheadrecords.com