Hell – Human Remains

By Jason Wellwood

David Bower has the most unhinged vocals I’ve ever heard. Seriously, the man sounds insane from start to finish on this disc. Listening to him, I’m picturing Cletus Kasady (Carnage) from Spiderman the Animated Series: skinny, huge eyed, wild red hair sticking up, shaking as he laughs at his own jokes that make no sense to anyone else…evil and insanity personified. This, of course, is not a bad thing. David Bower’s vocals on Human Remains are a perfect match to the subject matter of the lyrics, particularly on lead off track ‘On Earth As It Is In Hell’, where the introduction of this voice immediately sends the creeps up your spine. Purists, take note, listen to this with your ears not your preconceived notions, David Bower has not only captured the spirit of the original recordings, he has given them new life and new psychosis as well. In fact, Human Remains is a slick, thick piece of traditional metal that all of these young con(pre)tenders should pay attention to. Hell are back and they aren’t going to sit idly by, they are going to show you why they’ve been whispered about and copied for years. The rhythm section of Tim Bowler (drums) and Troy Speakman (bass) are super tight, check out the final few minutes of ‘No Martyr’s Cage’ if you want to hear how locked in a rhythm section should be. Andy Sneap not only does a fantastic job of taking these (almost) 30 year old songs and making them sound crisp and huge, he does a remarkable job on guitar (check the solo on ‘MacBeth’) The performance by both Sneap and Kev Bower is astounding, Bower shreds like it’s 1982 (‘Blashphemy and the Master’ is a prime example) and he is a young, hungry kid once again. It’s obvious that a lot of forethought went in to the intros, interludes and samples used on Human Remains. They make the flow seamless, the way an album should be.

This current incarnation of Hell goes beyond doing justice to the original songs that many fans have heard for years, they blow the originals away. This is the album that Hell should have been able to make in the 80’s, but Satan works in mysterious ways and Hell has risen in 2011 to be a commanding force.

This is damn near perfection.

(Nuclear Blast)

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.

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