Salem, Oregon-based black doom crushers Hell are swiftly rising from the depths. Disregarding stereotypical religious themes and instead focusing on a grieving, doom-ridden personal Hell, the band creates wildly imaginative atmospheric overtones and droning soundscapes over shattering doom metal. A ghastly ambiance is set thanks to conceptual album art compiled from the works of Gustave Dore.
The music of Hell is forefront to the project rather than imagery. In some of the longer songs such as Trucid or Decedere, intensely emotional clean reverby guitars play classical sounding dual leads to bring an immediate overcoming feeling of mourning. A tasteful mix of cello, viola, or flute is added to bring a truly archaic and prestigious sound. Soon enough all hopes are crushed by the insanely heavy guitars and drums. Bass guitar here is used unconventionally, keeping the overall beat. Soaring tremolo leads take over to seemingly reach out to the heavens, only for the listener to eventually be dragged down into the Hellish pits of sorrow and pain. In the end there is no resolve, only an immense feeling of loss and despair.
With that being said, that doesn’t mean Hell can’t have a good time. Shorter songs like Inscriptus, Brutus, and Sheol have plenty of evil headbanging party riffs and ridiculously violent vocals. It’s easy for Hell to craft the perfect set list for each different show. A wall of all-tube fender amps projects a perfect tone from the stage – not too loud or distorted, but instead dialed in for maximum resonance on the heavy parts and for a floating dreamy quality on the clean parts.
Inspired by the passing of his beloved father, the prolific MSW, from other acts such as Merkstave, created the band Hell to express a sense of loss and despair. It was only natural to next invite Sheene Coffin on second guitar since they had been writing music for up to a decade together in blues rock band The Fools. ALN from Mizmor took place on drums with experience in other heavy bands, while the bass was filled by Nate Tanic from other bands such as Leech, Mania, and Splatterhouse. Finally, Gina Eygenhuysen has joined with classical experience on violin to perform songs from Hell III.
With all three albums being sold out and re-issued multiple times, both on cassette from Eternal Warfare and LP by Pesanta Urfolk, including a 4 disc trilogy box-set, this band is quickly permeating the metal scene. After performing twice at the out-doors metal/folk festival Stella Natura, several reviews have given praise to Hell, notably twice from Roadburn’s Album of the Day and three times from San Fransisco’s Aquarius Records. Splits with THOU and AMAROK, as well as a new 7″ EP show promise of the heaviness to come.