I first encountered Bombs of Hades sometime last year when I came across the band's "Into the Pit of Eternal Fire" EP and I was impressed with what I heard. The four songs weren't exactly groundbreaking, nor were they going to set the (metal) world afire, but they showed that this band was legit. And legit they have proven to be with their latest effort "The Serpent's Redemption," a fun record full of metalpunk intensity blended with Swedeath tenets of violence and darkness to near-perfection. Obviously these guys should be taken seriously because they're signed to Pulverised Records, which is continuing to show why they excel at choosing only the best of today's numerous death metal acts, but these guys also need to be taken seriously given their heritage and ties to the (very) early Swedish death metal scene, as the band contains members who once played their disharmonious sounds in bands like Abhoth, Macabre End and Utumno - all terrific bands.
It wouldn't be much of a stretch to compare Bombs of Hades to bands like Bastard Priest or Black Breath, given the band's crust punk tendencies, but it's clear that this group isn't out to emulate their peers, rather they're here to simply crush listeners with heavy riffs akin to the old masters in Entombed, Grave and the like, while also mesmerizing the listener with sinister melodies and tremolo sections. Stalhammar's vocals aren't as unique or distinct as some other newer acts, but his harsh growls fit the punk-tinged death metal just fine, allowing the heavy music to do most of the dirty work while he lends his vile vocals to complete the group's sound. The band doesn't rely too much on creating an overly dark or eerie atmosphere, because there isn't much of a need too. The music is dark enough for what the band is trying to accomplish and there will be plenty of headbanging to be had that will put all thoughts of suffocating one in a wicked or evil aura to rest.
Songs like "Burn" and "Skull Collector" retain a lot of the fast-paced, crusty moments that make Bombs of Hades the hard-hitting group that they are, with the latter track being a real ear-catcher destined to be played multiple times with it's catchy chorus and abrasive riffs. The title-track is the ideal song to represent the band's overall sound, as it provides chilling moments that raise the hair on one's neck, while also delivering plenty of faster and heavier riffs (Must be that Utumno influence). "Scorched Earth" is a longer song that does a fine job of keeping the listener's attention as it effortlessly shifts between thrashy riffs, to motorcharged metalpunk riffs, back to pummeling death metal tremolos. "The Serpent's Redemption" may not be my favorite death metal record of the year, but it makes for another impressive addition to the loaded Swedish scene and another successful release for the awesome Pulverised Records. Bombs of Hades is a name to keep your eye on, because it's clear that these lads are very talented and their next release just might bury their peers.
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"The Serpent's Redemption"
4.25/5 or 85%.