Review Summary: Sinking into sounds.
Hell's third tape is a sonically appealing trance, containing clean picked guitar, slow trudging doom, vehement black metal and grinding feedback. Its features are noticeably accentuated by the production. Even relative to the production of more acclaimed doom releases, it's really good. Hell manipulates atmospheres, using simple parts in a interesting way to generate concentrated doomy goodness.
With only two songs, clocking in at 18+ minutes each, it can be really tough to hold some ones attention span. However, Hell presents it's ideas in a way that keeps everything fresh. Having large drone sections can often fracture the continuity of a doom album if done improperly. In this case, it's executed with great expertise and awareness. Layers of feedback and droning notes are mixed to sound very muddy, yet deep. There is a large drone/ambient section at the end of 'Mourn' that is actually quite long, but sonically interesting enough to keep your attention. It helps that the other aspects of the music sound just as great. The production in general has a lot of depth, making the doom parts sound deep and soupy, and the black metal parts sounding ferocious. As a whole the production makes a large part of the album.
The ideas on III
are not new in any way, but they sound so good, and are put together so neatly it's hard not to enjoy. There are clean melodic portions beginning both songs that create a melancholic atmosphere. Many of the melodies are very memorable, including a clever chord progression in 'Decedre' accompanied by flutes, which is certainly a highlight of the tape. The black metal portions are pretty standard, but satisfying, and even accompanied with operatic vocals in places. They also take up a lot of the play time, with much of III
reflecting more of a black metal feel than some of the previous Hell releases. Many of the singular elements they create are simple, but they are arranged in a way to make them as interesting as possible. Each song sets a tone, and slowly progresses, sinking deeper and deeper until it grinds to a halt, and then slowly sinks back to the surface to take a breath.
It is obvious that great care was put into making the elements flow , and reflecting the initial mood put forth by each song. The mood doesn't often stray away from the depressive monotony that it incubates. This of course was deliberate, setting the scene for an album that is more easily absorbed, than listened to. Both songs are equally enjoyable in the regard that it's not really what they are playing, but rather how they are playing it. While the structure itself might not be instantly memorable, the overall atmosphere is infectious and deeply satisfying. It's because of this that III
could be accessible to those not well acquainted with doom, which is not something that can be said for most tapes.
There are no real stand out flaws to this tape, however it isn't a ground breaking release by any means. It's a great addition to any doom collection, but it's only really remarkable in the context of itself. In the end, Hell uses simplicity and atmosphere to create an album that sounds pretty God damn good.