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In league with the entire Ars Goetia - 93%

BastardHead, April 26th, 2019

Hellripper is a good example of how to do a clone band correctly. On the surface, James McBain's one-man project of pure devastation is commonly known as "The Midnight of Scotland", and that isn't wrong, but instead of sounding like a hollow shell of that American monolith of throwback viciousness, Black Arts & Alchemy is every bit as wild and frenzied as any other band in the current scene.

This kid knows what he's doing, because Hellripper is the exact kind of beer-and-hash-soaked demonry that bands like Midnight and Whipstriker have been making popular in recent years. This kind of Venom-cum-Motorhead-cum-Onyourface is just a god damned blast and I'm cool with bands aping this sound as shamelessly as possible for the foreseeable future. There's very little here beyond the surface flash of high octane 70s Motorhead put through the filter of virgin sacrifice and bloody sodomy and fuck that's all I want it to be. This is primo caveman metal, with no greater goal beyond simply rocking the fuck out as hard as possible and breaking as many faces as possible on your way through. These riffs sound like a Harley doing a burnout on your face, what the fuck else do you want?

There isn't much to dig into considering that, even beyond being very simple black/speed metal in the vein of early Venom, it's only a four track EP. "All Hail the Goat" starts off sounding like a biker bar on fire and it never slows down from there. All four tracks sound pretty much the same but they all fucking rock so who cares? It's fast, high octane metalpunk with the speed and energy of early 80s German speed metal and it sounds exactly like how you're imagining it to sound. My only regret is that the digital release doesn't include the fifth track, a CD-only bonus track cover of Running Wild's "Iron Heads". If you don't know why that will inevitably be the banger of the fucking century then I don't even want to know you.

For what it's worth, the first five times I tried to listen to this, I'd get about halfway through the first track before iTunes would crash. Black Arts & Alchemy is so vicious that it kills technology.


Originally written for Lair of the Bastard