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HELLBRINGER - Awakened From The Abyss

High Roller Records

HELLBRINGER - Awakened From The Abyss


CD, High Roller Records, 2016

Australian Thrash/Speed Metal

"With their debut album Australian black-thrashers Hellbringer have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with; their take on Aussie thrash has been described as “Iron Angel on speed”; doesn’t sound too bad, right? Now four years after the release “Dominions of Darkness” via High Roller Records, the Canberra-based crew has a new full-length album on offer, a slab of thrashing darkness going by the promising name “Awakened from the Abyss”. Drummer Josh tells us what Hellbringer had in mind for their new album: “For ‘Awakened…’ we wanted to write better and more riffs and music with more interesting song structures. More stuff going on while still keeping it fast and evil.”

Hellbringer’s debut has been praised a lot for its “Hell Awaits”-sound-a-like qualities; and the new record again pays some tribute to Slayer, right? “I think ‘Dominion…’ was a lot more Teutonic with quite a big Sodom influence, but there is definitely still some Slayer there. With ‘Awakened…” though, early Slayer was, amongst other bands, a big influence on the music, like you said.”

Apart from Slayer and Possessed Hellbringer mentioned Sodom, Kreator und Destruction as important influences. That makes total sense as they’re a lot more Teutonic-tinged than most other Australian bands, such as Infernäl Mäjesty or Gospel Of The Horns, even though things have changed a bit with the new album: “With ‘Awakened…’ we weren't really leaning so much towards the Teutonic stuff. It was more Slayer, Possessed, Sepultura influenced which we were listening to a lot at the time. But of course the German bands’ influences will always creep in. Infernäl Mäjesty had a lot of influence on us, too.”

Since the release of “Dominions of Darkness” Hellbringer could make a lot of new fans and played a number of shows around Europe (like Hell’s Pleasure), so they surely must have made some memories? “Yeah we have gathered some more fans and it helped spread our name around a lot more for sure. We also played Metal Magic in Denmark and Headbanger's Open Air in Germany. We have some great memories for sure as they were some of the best shows we've played so far.”
In July 2014 Hellbringer issued a 7” single with one new track, namely “Horror from the Grave” and a Possessed cover (“Séance”), and this release clearly had some speed metal elements. Josh tries to draw a line from “Dominions…” to “Horror…” to “Awakened…”, and to describe the development the band has made: “’Horror from the Grave’ was more progressive compared to ‘Dominion…’ in terms of riffs but it wasn't as focused as the song writing on ‘Awakened…’. ‘Awakened…’ doesn't really have any of those speed metal elements.”

With more experience under their belt, Hellbringer this time approached the song-writing and recording more consciously than on the previous record – with a great result:
“The song writing process was a lot more thought out and focussed. We were going over the songs more, deciding what could be done better, while still keeping the natural flow. It's a lot more vicious and unhinged than ‘Dominion…’, too. As people will probably guess we were listening to stuff like ‘Hell Awaits’, ‘Haunting the Chapel’, Possessed – ‘Seven Churches’, Dark Angel – ‘Darkness Descends’. There is even some stuff like Mercyful Fate that creeps in at parts. We were trying to avoid the generic black/thrash thing which you hear a lot these days.”

There definitely isn’t much that is generic about “Awakened from the Abyss”: The vocals sound aggressive and at times really unhinged, the guitar work is excellent, the bass comes out nicely, and the drums give the songs a relentless thrash drive – “Awakened…” is again a journey through time, back to somewhere between 1983 and 1986 – right? “Of course. That was the absolute golden era of thrash!”
One highlight of the album is “Coven of Darkness” which opens with this insane solo over rather simplistic drumming before the straightforward, catchy main riff sets in; Josh has another favourite: “I would say ‘Dark Overseer’. Totally wild and really killer to play!” Yet he could not pick one track that could stand for all and capture the essence of the whole album: “I'd say all of them capture it. They're all so different but all compliment each other and capture the darkness and evil of it.“
This time it was not Harris Johns who did the engineering, but Tim Duck, who already recorded and mixed the “Horror from the Grave” single.

Finnish artist, musician and photographer Samu Salovarra, who has worked for Aktor, Speedtrap, and many more, did the cover artwork. “It is by far the best artwork we've had. The album will look killer. Journeying down into the bowels of hell!”
Hellbringer will be touring the US, “which is bound to be absolutely wild!!” and they would love to come back to Europe as soon as possible: “We would love to tour Europe again! This time on a bigger, more organised tour if we can.”

Ulrike Schmitz" - High Roller Records

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