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Swedeath upstarts - 76%

gasmask_colostomy, June 14th, 2018

I became interested in Jonas Stålhammar after realizing that he was the vocalist for both the new At the Gates album and also The Crown’s Doomsday King, two prominent releases from the Swedish death scene. He might now be focusing on the former of those two names, yet Bombs of Hades was his previous day job and this split with the (now) curious prog/death/sludge of Usurpress seemed too good an opportunity to miss. The groups complement each other very well, both being Swedish death metal acts with an edge of other genres.

Bombs of Hades kick off the four-song release with two of their crusty death metal assaults, both of which are like Diego Maradona playing in the rain – short, fast, and dirty. There is a hardcore slant to the ever-present shouted vocals of Stålhammar, though the band simply rip through OSDM riffing with frequent rhythmic shifts, then a weirdly epic outro arrives in ‘Until Death (Hanged by the Neck)’, towering up with keyboards and a stately riff that vastly changes the feeling of the song. ‘Inside Teradome’ is even more punky, featuring prominent bass and squally lead guitar, something that Usurpress also make use of.

The second side of the split is marginally more influenced by pure death metal, especially the deeper, more guttural vocals of Stefan Pettersson, which have recently developed into other styles. Usurpress also show their later tendency to expand their range, sending ‘The First of Five’ crawling into atmospheric off-kilter black metal riffing and challenging time signatures, though this being released as early as 2011 means they remain extreme for the duration of both pieces.

Although Bombs of Hades’s tracks have since been compiled along with other rare material, there is still value in the split because Usurpress have not re-released their contributions in any other form, while hearing the bands side-by-side makes for a mutually fulfilling experience. For a swift blast of sideways-thinking Swedish death, you could find much worse ways to spend a few minutes.


-- May Diamhea's feat of 100 reviews in 7 days remain unbeaten --