HELL, yes the HELL, the original HELL, have a new album out in Europe since November 22nd, 2013 which is due in the UK and North America on November 25th through Nuclear Blast Records. Cursed until 2011 when their debut album ‘Human Remains’ was finally released, HELL are now truly ready for the second chapter in their long saga. The album's art was created by artist Dan Goldsworthy and photographer Nigel Crane and dreamed up by Kev Bower (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Andy Sneap (guitar):
“…whilst staggering back from the local pub late one night, after a “heavy creativity session”. It was inspired by the rise in spiritualism in England during the 19th century, during which time séances and attempts to communicate with the dead became commonplace - along with the establishment of numerous secret cults and aristocratic organizations who would meet in secret, attempting to raise spirits and reach “the other side”.”
HELL's lyrics revisit the band's favorite themes of historical, political, and religious persecution, intolerance, and prejudice, and some good old-fashioned myths and legends are being invoked and reinterpreted in their own “inimitable” way:
“We also have some songs in which the listener will be implicitly invited to solve the clues contained in the lyrics in order to find the meaning of the stories for themselves. Being completely aware that many people interpret things in ways that writers do not expect as a matter of course, it seemed logical to take that idea a little further,” [elaborated singer David Bower]
Visit Nuclear Blast here for track-by-track explanation by Kev Bower and enjoy ‘Darkhangel’ video clip below. Order the ‘Curse & Chapter’ from here (Nuclear Blast store) or get it from iTunes or Amazon.
One of the true founding fathers of occult metal, HELL formed in 1982 in Nottingham, England from the carcasses of UK metal bands RACE AGAINST TIME and PARALEX. Despite over five years of constant touring, the band were cruelly overlooked by the '80s music press, who “just didn’t get it:. HELL were too different, too extreme, too musically intelligent and far too thought-provoking for all but the most enlightened to understand them”. The final crushing blow came when their long-awaited 1986 album deal with Mausoleum collapsed as the label went bankrupt, followed by the tragic suicide of singer/guitarist, Dave Halliday in 1987. A teenage Andy Sneap was a permanent fixture on the front row of almost every show HELL played (“He’s also the nicest bloke you could ever wish to meet, and it’s a privilege to have him as a best friend,” added Kev Bower) and upon meeting again, the remaining members of HELL - Kev Bower (guitar/keys), Tony Speakman (bass) and Tim Bowler (drums) - talked with Sneap about re-recording the old material. With Sneap replacing Halliday on guitar and with David Bower on vocals, the band recorded ten HELL's classics from the 1980's. Sneap apparently funded the entire project out of his own pocket: “The recordings were completed with neither hope nor aspirations of any outcome, and the original intention was to produce just a few CDR copies for the band members, close friends and family.” The finished product though attracted attention from five record labels, with the band eventually signing to Nuclear Blast Records. In 2011, HELL released their debut album ‘Human Remains’ which entered the national charts in Germany and several Scandinavian countries:
“A few of these songs date back to the band's earliest demos, but others are new. Old or new, they’re classic heavy metal in style and approach, with hammering drums, galloping guitar riffs, and a thick, full bass sound. Dave Bower's vocals are high-pitched and overwrought (he’s been an actor for decades, so he enunciates every syllable and generally acts the role of a heavy metal frontman, tipping over into goofiness more than a few times), and the lyrics are often quite cheesy in a Satanic-fantasy vein, with sound effects adding entertainment value. This is a fun record that will give fans of old and/or retro metal a lot to like,” [concurred Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here]
HELL features: David Bower – vocals, Kev Bower - guitar, keyboards and vocals, Andy Sneap – guitar, Tony Speakman – bass and Tim Bowler – drums