posted on 2/2010 By:
Hellish Crossfire made one hell of a first impression on me. When going through my usual album-to-review selecting process, a quick trip to a band’s Myspace page is always essential. Have to sample the goods. For these Germans, the song I chose was “Night of the Possessed,” the first track off of Bloodrust Scythe, their sophomore effort. From the mood-setting intro (not unlike many thrash album overtures) through to the face-peeling speed of the verses and chorus, and overall intensity, every classic thrashing bone in my body was pleased. I wasted zero time making sure I snatched this one up for review.
And then I listened to the rest of the album...
The rest of it largely falls flat in trying to reach the same level of Slayer-Sodom-worshipping perfection as the first track. Nearly all of the songs have some quality moments, such as the intro and fury of “Into the Old and Evil,” the constant smatterings of King-and-Hanneman-esque lead guitar noodling, and most of “Orgasmic Rush.” On the flip side, however, most songs also feature awkward transitions and lack any real riff variety. At least 90% of Bloodrust Scythe is thrashing speed, speed, and more very familiar thrashing speed. Other passages are just an utter bore, such as the outro to “Into the Old and Evil,” seemingly thrown in to add 30 seconds to a song.
The songwriting shortcomings are especially frustrating because Hellish Crossfire possess a very classic thrash sound and production. The echo utilized for the half-harsh vocals gives off a Hell Awaits-ish atmosphere, and the instrumental production forgoes any modern polish, while attaining a clarity not often heard during the 80s. This may seem very different from the Pro-Tools-meets-zero-songwriting case that is so common today, but it is still an appealing sound masking limited songs.
Many of you will be able to get past Hellish Crossfire’s compositional limitations for the sheer throwback fun of their sound. I even find myself tapping toes when I treat Bloodrust Scythe as background noise. The unfortunate part is that it often renders itself background noise after the first song is over. There simply isn’t enough to garner a recommendation over the thousands of other thrash releases in the slightly above average category.
Oh well, “Night of the Possessed” is still a complete rocker. Too bad for the band’s cash flow that you can listen to it for free at Myspace.
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