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All of the Decadence, None of the Success - 87%

TheStormIRide, February 12th, 2016

Gehennah were once the masters of crude, booze fueled street metal. Their 1996 album, King of the Sidewalk, is highly regarded as a classic in metalpunk and blackened thrash circles. After the 2003 EP, Ten Years of Fucked Up Behavior, the band kind of fell off the map. According to some interviews with the band, they didn’t have a label and didn’t bother looking for one, until some friends asked them to do an EP, which ultimately became 2014′s Metal Police, which grabbed the attention of Metal Blade Records, who re-released the EP with bonus tracks and signed the band for their next album. Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die is the band’s fourth full length and first for Metal Blade.

Thirteen tracks of drunken mayhem ensue over the thirty-seven minute running time. Recorded at Cobra Studio in Stockholm, Gehennah opted for a rather raw and dirty production, with everything except the solos and vocals being recorded live with no overdubs. While the sound is primitive and gritty, there’s no denying that Gehennah’s sound still packs a powerful punch, even when completely stripped down. To the uninitiated, Gehennah’s sound borrows heavily from the early speed, thrash and black metal scenes, often being likened to a modern day mash up of Bathory, Venom and Motörhead.

Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die keeps the band’s rollicking, thrashing, drunken street metal sound. While the production is rather primitive, the performances are anything but. The percussion offers a barrage of fast paced double kicks while the bass frantically moves along, summoning the likeness of Lemmy, himself. Mr. Violence’s vocals sound more acerbic than before, with a deeper, menacing growl, belting out lyrics of decadence and drunkenness. The strongest point on Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die are the riffs which blend rollicking thrash with rangy speed metal licks and choppy palm muting. There’s a ton of catchy hooks and leads thrown in, but it still retains its primitive nature.

The instrumentation is solid, but with a band like Gehennah it’s all about attitude. This is no holds barred street metal performed by miscreants who don’t give a fuck; unless it’s about drinking beer. Honestly, there’s a reason these guys are revered by a lot of the up and coming blackened speed/thrash bands of the world, and Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die proves that the band still has it in them. Fans of the classics like Venom, Motörhead and Bulldozer, as well as fans of the newer school of Whipstriker, Midnight and Bulldozing Bastard, should dive on in, because this is bound to be one of the best street metal albums of the year.

Written for The Metal Observer.