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I think this was one of the most anticipated new releases from Hellthrasher Productions for me. You know, once I’ve heard Hell United’s “Abhorrence Majesty” MCD I was really blown away by the sounds of this Polish band and really looked forward to hear some more. In the meantime I also have heard Eclypse’s only album, 2003’ “Applause (JHVH Elohim Meth)”, which was a band, before they changed the name for Hell United, but really – nothing was able to prepare me for such a devastating piece of music as the one, which I’ve found on “Aura Damage”. Fuck, this truly is one of the best, of not even the best, Polish death metal album of this year and also one of the most frequently listened to by me from the worldwide scene in the past month. But really, everything about “Aura Damage” is great. The front artwork looks stunning; it reminds me a little of Iron Maiden’s Eddie’s bat reincarnation from their old live album “Live at Donnington” hehe, but here it is more creepy, so well fitting to the red colouring of the whole booklet. Yeah, the layout is very cool, blood red colouring, with some great graphics and effects, what looks like all the pages were splattered with blood. I bet it would look fantastic on the vinyl, especially if the record itself was also blood / black splatter. Ha, who knows, maybe someone will release it like that one day?
And music wise Hell United delivers exactly that kind of music, which you would expect from them, only even better as what they have provided on the previous releases. I mean I am really impressed with the riffing, with the whole arrangements and song structures, which the band has collected together on “Aura Damage”. I’ve listened to this album several times and I can honestly say that there’s absolutely not a bad sound on it and everything is just top notch. My favourite pieces of “Aura Damage” would probably be those, which are the most untypical for the band and most surprising ones. I mean songs “Deathlike Cold” and “Totality of I” really surpassed my expectations and blown me off to the moon with some fantastic slow or mid paced, very possessing and almost catchy riffing. “Totality of I” is just awesome, as it mainly focuses on slower, kind of post metallic riffing, which has almost hypnotising effect and at times is it almost melancholic, which is perfect for the end of the whole album. “Deathlike Cold” has something from the black metal aura, if I compare some of the riffs to bands like (old) Disiplin. There’s similar vibe, one which just forces you to bang the skull and raise the horns. But this song is something more than just slow playing, as it blasts quite frequently also, in the end I must say this is the best song from the album. Fantastic stuff, really. I also strongly advise you to check out “Hinterland”, as it also reminds me some black metal albums, speaking of the atmosphere it creates, which is just purely dark and eerie. It is quite disturbing, but also almost hypnotising, but the final effect is just damn cool.
But most of “Aura Damage” is, as you would probably expect, more relentless and uncompromising; quite big part of this album has been played in furiously fast and devilish tempo, where the band blasts like crazy and simply destroys everything what dares to stand on their way. And also then Hell United really impressed me, like in the first couple of songs: “Red Limitations” and “Apostle of Plague”, which offer some extremely fast parts, but don’t focus on them entirely. And while “Apostle of Plague” may sound almost like Krisiun, then they avoid Krisiun’s main sins from their early period and vary the song with some slower bits also, mainly in the ending fragment. “Red Limitations” also has been finished with slower part and I must say that the riffs, which are closing this song, are some of the best parts of the whole album. It really sounds fuckin killer there. They’re quite simple, but effect is great and only pushes the listener to erupt with energy. “In Odore Sanctitatis” is also one of those songs, which stand above the rest of the material, crushing with unbelievably fast tempos and blasphemous aura.
But as I said earlier, the whole “Aura Damage” is just great and there’s no song, which would seem to be out of place or which would be filler. The whole material is just great and I have no doubts that there will be many maniacs, who’ll enjoy the level of devastation and extermination of it. Personally I think this album is superior to many already well established bands and their albums, just to mention the likes of Stillborn and Throneum, even if I liked the recent albums of both these bands also a lot. So, if you’re into the Polish death (blackened) metal scene, then “Aura Damage” is a must to have in collection. And let me just remind you that this is yet another fantastic release from Hellthrasher! Well done guys.
Standout tracks: “Deathlike Cold”, “Totality of I”, “Red Limitations”, “In Odore Sanctitatis”