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Despite its really cheesy name, Poland’s Hell United plays really classic black/death metal that sticks true to their Polish roots, reeking of the style that bands such as Hate, Behemoth and Azarath has created, as will be evident on their brand new full length album, Aura Damage, the follow up to 2008′s HornoKracy.
The band is relentless in their execution of their music, with album opener Red Limitations lambasting without mercy right from the start, with the aggressive riffing and the drumming all creating a wall of noise that hits the listener like a brick wall. The vocals of V particularly sound like a cross between Piotr Wiwczarek’s and Nergal’s, and is sure to please fans of Polish extreme metal. Apart from that, even the black metal moments are rather reminiscent of their Polish counterparts such as Thunderbolt, especially the Norwegian-inspired riffing style on the black metal moments on the album, such as the slower segments of songs like Deathlike Cold. That said though, Hinterland, the slowest track on the album reminds the listener somewhat of Marduk‘s slower tracks like Accuser/Opposer, with the feeling of doom and hopelessness that is invoked in the listener.
The production on Aura Damage is nothing fanciful as well, with the band attempting a sound as filthy as possible, what with the extreme distortion of the guitars, most clearly heard on moments when guitarists Rzulty and V utilise heavy, palm-muted chugging like on Apostle of Plague. And it is also this raw and gritty production that helps the record to shine, allowing things like the furious trem-picked riffs that are often present on the album to create an oppressive atmosphere.
Hell United‘s style of music is rather chaotic, with no fixed form or predictable song progression as the songs often transit between different styles without much warning, with fast and furious lead guitars included when least expected. While this unpredictability often ended up being a rather good thing, surprising listeners when least expected, this at times caused the enjoyment of the album to falter slightly, with certain moments sounding rather confusing, weakening the overall impact of the tracks especially on songs that suddenly see a shift to a less impactful section. The ability for the band to still sound rather tight despite the numerous shifts that a single song can contain is commendable though, and is a display of the ability of the individual band members.
However, Aura Damage is still a rather interesting and unique listen that attempts to push the boundaries that their predecessors have created,. Though this has at times created some rather awkward and confusing moments, the attempt and efforts that the band has put into this album is certainly commendable.