Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hellbringer - Dominion of Darkness

Not only is the cover art for Hellbringer's debut full-length awesome, but the music on "Dominion of Darkness" is stellar as well. Hailing from Australia, these guys have some mighty bands to follow after incredible releases from bands like Mongrel's Cross, Gospel of the Horns and Ignivomous have already been unleashed earlier this year. But, much like their fellow countrymen, they have delivered one of the best albums of 2012, and arguably the strongest contender for thrash album of the year. The songs that grace this album are all top-notch tracks of thrashing evil that will put them right up there with some of the best new bands around in Nekromantheon, Deathhammer and Toxic Holocaust. The riffs, solos, vocals, drumming, and everything in between flows together in near-perfect form to create a truly memorable thrash album, during a year that hasn't been so kind to thrash outfits (other than the black/thrash hordes). 

Hellbringer manage to capture the evil atmosphere that bands like Infernal Majesty, Possessed, Nocturn and Necrodeath brought to the table, and much like the ancient masters that preceded them, they also have the riffs to make some brilliant music. It's obvious that the riffs contained on this beast were well-crafted and not just rushed or fast for the sake of being fast. There's a great variety of blistering fast riffs, tremolo bursts, midpaced crushers and dark, haunting riffs. The title track and "The Rites of Evil" have some of the catchiest riffs heard on a thrash album in a very long time, making any complaints about the band being another generic thrash group nonsensical. The band also excels at producing some quality solos and melodies to go with the terrific rhythms that batter all who hear them, most notably on the intro to "Satanic Destructor" which is sure to send some shivers down the listener's spine or raise the hair on the back of their necks. 

The rhythm section of the band is also killer. The drumming is consistently solid throughout, with the best drum highlight being on the track "Deceiver's Chamber," a violent and vicious song. The bassist's performance wasn't exactly setting the world afire, but the effort was sufficient and provided the low end for the band's lethal sound. Luke Bennett's vocals aren't the most original around, but the familiar reverb-bathed barks are still a welcome listen and they suit the music perfectly. It's clear that "Dominion of Darkness" was crafted by a band that knows what they're doing, as the songs that were forged on this release could've been created by demons from the underworld; these songs are that damn evil and unholy. Once again, I am not surprised at all with the effort put forth by this Australian group who have continued to allow the prolific scene prosper at the highest possible level. This album is definitely up there with Nekromantheon's "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" and Deathhammer's "Onward to the Pits" as the best new thrash records of 2012, and it has plenty of room to grow on me and anyone fortunate enough to get their hands on this before the year's done. 

Be sure to check out and like Hellbringer on Facebook!

"Dominion of Darkness"
"Sermon of Death"
"Deceiver's Chamber"
"The Rites of Evil"

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%.