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Alas we are here, the latest French black metal "supergroup" containing members of more accomplished bands like Mutiilation, Antaeus, Vorkreist and Temple Of Baal. The most notable one being the great Meyhnach (Mutiilation). So before listening you would be led to believe that this "dream team" would make some sickly good shit. Well the sound is a mix of death/black metal, which shows the side of Vorkreist and Temple Of Baal and then you get the pure black metal side of Meyhnach's voice and LSK's bass playing (Antaeus).
In a way it loses identity and it turns out to be one big mess of a thing. It's going through a struggle of what to sound like, it loses its footing and predictably collapses. I bought this because of Meyhnach and I thought it was going to be a return to early Mutiilation since he had a bunch of proven musicians behind him. I was wrong, if anything it seems as if he had little to no input on the music itself. There are few melodies and the music just drags on at times. I am sometimes wondering that he's just a spectator to the disaster around him. I know that if Meyhnach had written the music himself it would be a better product. I suppose that's why Mutiilation is a one man project, he has creative freedom and complete power of what to sound like with no conflict of interest. Is it me or have we heard Meyhnach sound better (vocally speaking) than this? He sounds like he forcing himself to sound more death metal-ish. I hate to say that maybe even a raw version of Attila as well. Its not one of his finest moments.
This album is not a complete waste of time. Tracks like; Torture Of The Saints, Goathrone and Blood From The Pig are some of the better moments here. But there just seems to be a short supply of it, just leaving you empty or unsatisfied in the end. Perhaps its all a "feeling out" process since the band had little time to become "one". They need more time together to develop as a unit and find what they are capable of. They're defnitely better than this. The whole idea behind the band is great, but the execution falls short. When you have members behind some of the best work of the French black/death metal scene then you have to believe that it will come around eventually, just not yet.
This album was recommended to me very heavily, so my expectiations rose to the highest level. This album was said to be destructive and I did really believe it would be so. But it wasn't. High tempos just don't suffice, the atmosphere is not deep enough and the lack of the most important thing for metal - riffs, it is - send the album back to oblivion.
To say it the shortliest - there's nothing special about that album, nothing at all. It is not even good enough to make the listener forget about its primitivity and absolute unorginality. The riffs are unbearably simple, but that's not the point - they're just poor. Most of them are tasteless and if there's a better one, it is repeated into eternity - a custom sickening for the auditor. Most of the songs look like that: there's one or two riffs played again and again with some experiments with the rythm. The fine, yawning vocals won't save the music - without the riffs, an album can turn only to crap.
There are few good points, that's why the rating is held in the average. One for production, which is clear but still proper for black metal - the guitar reminds me Anaal Nathrakh's first album or 1349. Another for the vocals, the third for the noticeable atmosphere and the last for the second part of the last song, which may sound interesting when listening for the first time. However, the album still sounds like it was made at the lowest cost, more using intuition than brain.
When I was buying this album I hoped, that it'll be something good. I saw a lot advertisements in local underground magazines, usual shit - the hardest, the best and so on, so on... So I decided to buy this, and what I heard? One song played in 9 ways.
Everything is truly blackish in this album. We have well distorted guitars, bass sounds like bulldozer, some sick vocals and not special percussion. And it's very good, when you listen to first and second song. When you listen to third and fourth you start to think - what's going on? Everything sounds the same! And after this there is only boredom. Vocals are good, for first ten minutes, but then I realized that he have no ideas how to make it interesting. Guitar riffs sound almost the same. Some are better, some worse, but fuck - it is one riff played in many ways. I like bass, I really like it on this album, but only one really good thing won't make this album remarkable. As I said before percussion is... ordinary. And nothing more.
And where is atmosphere? Where is fuckin’ evil climate which surrounds the best black metal album? Where’s grimness and cold? Well, it is certainly not here…
So I write it clear - nothing special at all...
Ok I have rewritten this review and originally gave the band a score of 89% with the only setback being that it gets boring if listened to often. Well I started listening to this CD a lot lately and it has really stood the test of time.
Hell Militia consists of various members from the French black metal elite coming from such acclaimed bands as Arkhon Infaustus, Antaeus, and Mutiilation. Being a black metal super group expectations are really high. Now onto the review.
Finally after such a long wait and multiple attempts by various bands the torch is passed that was once held by De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. I remember a couple years ago people were raving about the Frost (UK) debut being the new DMDS, while it had many similarities and had some of its own tricks it did not manage to stand the test of time. In fact it didn’t even manage to hold me for more than 3 tracks. DMDS had the right idea but it failed to be anything really great due to having some major flaws.
One of the largest flaws was the vocalist, Attilla. He sung with demented screams that sounded cool and all but it id not fit at all with the music. Willy has managed to build off of Attilla’s vocal style. He sings with Screams that are even more sickening and demented and he has actually managed to fit it with the music perfectly.
Buzz-saw guitars surrounded by a very filthy production along with Willy’s ice cold wails produces the atmosphere that DMDS longed for so much but fell short of. The riffs being played are very heavy and have many similarities to the riffs from DMDS except they are played even tighter. At times the drums are pushed forward into the mix pushing the guitars back into the sea of filth producing a windstorm effect which really builds up the intensity.
Though this is not the most technical or have as much going on as many other black metal releases; what it does it does well. Modern production in black metal sacrifices depth to the music and for a band to do this and win me over they better manage to produce some excellent stuff and Hell Militia does with flying colors.
This album is what so many bands have tried to achieve in the past, retain the essence of hatred, evil and darkness and at the same time have a modern production. Currently I only see Deathspell Omega and Ondksapt with the capability of achieving this and both bands have come close but have yet to reach that status.
I order anyone who likes their black metal raw or not raw to go buy this release now before it is sold out.