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Pure Adrenaline - 90%

LickMyOrangeBallsHalfling, August 9th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

After a few years of split singles and EPs, Scotland's Hellripper came storming out of the gates with its debut LP, "Coagulating Darkness." Hellripper is the brainchild of James McBain, a wickedly talented songwriter and instrumentalist, and his talents are perfectly showcased on this record's 25 minutes.

The album comes storming out of the gates with opener "Bastard Of Hades." The first reaction you may have upon hearing the opening riff is "Wait, isn't this just Hit The Lights?" Yes, that's definitely the first thing I thought of, but the song develops a personality of its own, with razor-sharp guitars and grinding basslines. From then on, the album does not let off, continuing at a breakneck speed. The following track, "Anneliese," takes a darker tone, with eerie tremolo picked riffs and arguably the best guitar solo on the album, provided by guest guitaist Mark Lerche.

McBain makes his influences clear on this record, showing his love of early thrash metal such as Metallica and Slayer (the verse riff on the title track is suspiciously similar to "Black Magic") and first wave black metal bands such as Venom and Bathory, mixed in with some of the D-Beat/Crust influences that were more apparent on his earlier work. Despite this, there is none of the sloppiness associated with black metal and punk; every riff and drumbeat is played with surgical precision and McBain makes every note count. Along with his shredding skills, McBain is no slouch as a drummer either, capable of providing tight fills, pounding double bass runs, and even some blast beats in the black metal-esque chorus of the title track.

What "Coagulating Darkness" may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in songwriting skills and pure fun. For anyone interested in bands dabbling in Black/Speed, this is a must listen.