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Heavily inspired by Amebix and their crusty punk ambitions, Hellbastard also rose from England loaded with chunky guitar riffs and anarchist political views very much in place. When this album was issued, punk bible Maximum Rock N Roll described it as “Crass meets Metallica”, which is not far off the mark.
The band’s sound consisted mostly of mid-tempo grooves punctuated by occasional clean female vocals matching guitarist & singer Scruff’s guttural snarl. Perhaps because it fell into the typical crust middle ground of not being punk and/or metal enough for each scene’s respective audiences, Hellbastard didn’t receive much adulation in their day. Too bad, because their sound is actually very heavy, very organic, and contains not only fine playing, but a very grass roots vibe. They clearly were making music for themselves and didn’t care if the lads with either mohawks or dreadlocks found it to their liking. Hardcore punk velocity is used sparingly, but effectively here with the band quickly returning to the mid-tempo crush they favored.
Long out of print, but highly desirable, this release was followed by 1990’s Natural Order album, a damn good effort, but the band’s move to a slicker thrash metal style disconcerted those of us who loved their debut (all three of us). The band’s demo work (under the title Ripper Crust) has also been unearthed in recent years, as the commercial aspirations of the modern punk rock set have led those seeking the real deal to scurry back in time to hear bands that mattered. Hellbastard did, and that’s why we’re still talkin’ about ‘em today.