By Jonathan Smith
Hellsaw’s Cold is an album that starts out much stronger than it ends. The Austrian-based black metal band opens their newest release with “A Suicide Journey,” and it’s a really enjoyable and epic track that produces the right mood. All the requisite elements are here — strategic use of acoustic guitar riffs, pounding and rhythmic drums, background instrumental distortion, and many sudden and powerful launches into full-on metallic onslaughts. Aries’ vocals are an intriguing middle-point between deeper growls and high-pitched shrieks, and as a result they stand out throughout the whole album. Unfortunately the first track overshadows the rest of the album as a whole. While the next few tracks, including “Der Harswald,” are pretty enjoyable as well, after the first short intermission track things gradually seem to become less ambitious and more generic. The album’s latter half isn’t terribly memorable overall, and this is too bad given the good stuff that is found back toward the beginning. Cold has some great moments, but ultimately seems to run out of steam.