Hellripper, a blackened speed metal band from the UK, has joined forces with the more straightforward American black metal group Batsheva to release a short split. Hellripper’s side is up first, and despite offering just two tracks (and only one original), it is a solid effort. Both songs follow a relatively similar template, as they’re driven by old-school sounding speed metal riffs that are charged up just a bit more than they would have been in the 1980s. The vocals are completely savage, and are the aspect of the music that really shows the black metal influence. In addition, Hellripper’s lead playing shows a lot of Motorhead worship. Although the shredding can get a bit faster at times (particularly the intro solo on “Hell’s Rock n’ Roll”), the approach is ultimately quite bluesy. The overall goal of this side of the split is to make something with a quick, powerful punch, and Hellripper succeeds. The only even slightly negative comment I can make is that the cover song really sounds no different from the other song on this side of the split, aside from being a bit faster.
Side 2 of this split belongs to Batsheva, and you’ll notice quite immediately that it’s a jarring change. Make no mistake, these two bands have pretty much the opposite philosophy. Batsheva’s music is built more around atmosphere than riffs. In fact, the opening track, “Liturgy of Endless Night”, is a 2-minute instrumental that attempts to set the mood before the carnage begins. Once Batsheva’s side of the split really gets going, it is certainly a good effort. Tremolo picking is in full effect, alongside completely demonic and ghoulish vocals. The band switches up the feel of the music often, moving between more rocking mid-paced beats and slow blasting sections. This will definitely appeal to anyone who worships the Norwegian scene of the early 1990s, though Batsheva is not quite as distinctive as many of the bands from that time.
Overall, this split is an interesting, but worthy purchase. It is a bit puzzling as to why the band’s released this together, since their fanbases may not overlap perfectly. Regardless of this fact, anyone who enjoys black metal vocals can find something worthwhile on both sides of the split, and fans of extreme metal in general are likely to get something out of this release.
"Hell's Rock n' Roll"
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott