Curse And Chapter


STEINMETAL (8/10) And the stage is set; an infernal crowd of misfits is attending. The […]
By Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Michael "Mettleangel" Francisco
November 8, 2013
Hell - Curse And Chapter album cover


And the stage is set; an infernal crowd of misfits is attending. The world's auditorium lays out the darker side of humanity, relentless oddities, a constant inner and outer struggle on innumerable grounds, a conspicuous view into the true face of natural human evil. Therefore what is the better way that to convey evil within an act, a theatrical tale with a queasy viewpoints, riddles and mischief. Past, present and future appear to be bleak, but with a good chuck of Metal music as an inspiration to carry on. Here I am, listening to a brand new HELL album named "Curse And Chapter", via Nuclear Blast Records, after reviewing the early EP that carried out one of the new shindig's songs. Once again, even though it was a minor effect within the EP, HELL proved to yours truly that precise path of NWOBHM in the present. This crew of five, with whom I consider as virtually an actor as a frontman, has been able to bring back the old British Metal movement into a renowned recognition by retaining it in its vintage but on the same time keeping it fresh in such a fashion that didn't ruin the early 80's Metal experience.

I believe that one can't go wrong with HELL, after so many years and "Curse And Chapter" signals their continual resolve on obtaining a stronger position as a British Metal band, and not just because of Andy Sneap (guitarist / producer), as if to demonstrate the profusion of their local scene, maybe with having a go at restoring the Metal crown to their homeland. I guess that Sneap, after going through the info regarding this release, accurately commented on "Curse And Chapter" as a sort of a two equal halves beckoning the band's musical directive as both old school prominent but with a modern nobility. I couldn't agree more as HELL display riffs, melodic procedures, dueling guitar harmonies and solo works that might hint of the early 80's of NWOBHM along with perceptible refurbished IRON MAIDEN shrewdness and sophisticated apparitions along with a productive wall of sound that is so fierce, a contemporary version of vintage British echoes in conjunction with a number of fresh new age Metal grooves. On the other hand, as I stated on the previous review of the band's EP, I couldn't escape the MERCYFUL FATE clout all over the material. Though the old Danish devilish beast were inspired by the British movement themselves, yet the dramatics, especially by the keyboards arrangements, and what appeared to be as stagecraft proclaimed by the HELL's David Bower, played their part on turning HELL into an exuberant showcase of art and on "Curse And Chapter" it was massively validated. Furthermore, Bower's crazed performance antics and high pitched vocal action, also had me thinking of a vocalist that fronted HELL for a short period of time following Sneap's insertion to the lineup, his ex-SABBAT peer, Martin Walkyier, which has been quite a vocalist / actor himself with SABBAT and afterwards with SKYCLAD. Moreover, I deeply believe that other the guitar works of both Sneap and Kev Bower, which also took charge of the cabalistic keyboards, David Bower undoubtedly is the main happening behind HELL's realization, and "Curse And Chapter" in particular.

Within the "Curse and Chapter" tracklist there is plenty of content, brilliant lyricism that at time had me experiencing a long musical rather than a song by song Metal album, and of course a hefty margin of riffs and melodic aspects. There is nothing within the songs that can be measured as commercialized or I will even admit that at a first peak, I didn't realize to what I am getting myself into. Therefore, being merely a Heavy Metal fans wasn't enough as this album will have you sink knee deep in its pit. "A Vespertine Legacy", an utterly heavy epic closer for this review, embraced me with an atmospheric intro, a segment that appears later on through the song, accentuated the riches of HELL. This is British Metal at its highest of forms, it might be hard to memorize, but there is no denying the virtuosity bestowed within. "Land Of The Living Dead", a torment out of a b-movie, yet also what could be a glimpse of a different reality, is a near textbook unanimity between old Speed and Heavy Metal, harmonic guitaring applying also crushing riffs and a classic rhythm section display. Bower is simply beyond everything, no better way to describe it. "End Ov Days" felt like the real thing, though I have no idea how does it feel, but if there is darkness and mystery, this is the right one provided with fiendish demeanor. The colorful choir mixed with melodic guitars chorus is virtually divine. Lastly, I acclaim the instrumental prodigy of "Deathsquad", a musical ugly side to the truth, yet stating the band's playing skills and talents, insuring the melodious majestic nature of NWOBHM.

Probably babbled a lot, but it was worth it. HELL's "Cursed And Chapter" is a major release, it has its shabby grey zones, yet it won me over either way. NWOBHM has never been stronger, and this band is a proof to this very notion.


Brace yourselves servants of darkness, the second HELL album is here. This album consists of almost all new material and it is as evil and wicked as one would expect. On earth as it is with HELL, the music placates with fire, fear, and flames, as well as with that passionate dark angle of NWOBHM memorabilia that makes one yearn for SATAN, OVERDRIVE, HOLOSADE, SABBAT, PARALEX, PARIAH, and their ilk of human like-mindedness. We all know that the new SATAN album is amazing, and now Brian Ross has a new album with BLITZKRIEG. After hearing new CARCASS I assert that all the great Brits are back and delivering the iron goods to the Beast and Master.

Andy Sneap has cut back on producing so he could focus on writing with Kev, Tony, and Tim and the quest to create the "Curse And Chapter" is time well spent worshiping the dark side. If you heard the (EP) you know that "Age Of Nefarious" is a notorious opener even spoofing the band THE FIFTH DIMENSION from the musical "Hair" with the reference to the "Age Of Aquarius".

All the songs have that macabre and magic manic feel. As much as I had hoped Martin Walkyier of SKYCLACD was willing to stay on as their replacement vocalist, I feel that David has proven his mettle; many times imitating Martin's will, wit and wisp. I have never seen him in acting scenes, as David Beckford, but in the haunting HELL videos he is quite ostentatious, msendacious, and menacing. Regrettably at time his piercing screams and demonic howl can get annoying and tedious over time, though.

Reworked demos that are over two decades old that will make the poseurs scream such as "The Disposer Supreme", "Deliver Us From Evil", and "Land Of The Living Dead" besides being lyrically clever, are also catchy and like the plague itself, quite infectious. I have never heard the originals, but I am sure they have done them justice, as they always do when they give the Devil his due.

I usually skip instrumental tracks, but the dynamics of "Deathsquad" are most enticing, channeling the likes of RUSH, E.L.P., and DEEP PURPLE with its fun keyboard delivery. "Something Wicked" is pure evil, eerie, and magnificent and an honorary homage to the late Ray Bradbury.

So save us from those who would save us, because if you enjoyed what the scheming demons delineated on "Human Remains" and how they reworked those classic cuts, then you will dig what evil they deliver here. If you yearn for classic MERCYFUL FATE, WITCH CROSS, VENOM, CANDLEMASS, CRUCIFIXION, SARACEN, WITHCHFYNDE etc. with a modern approach to songwriting, production, and performance in the vein and vanity of CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR, and even POWERWOLF then intense is the sense of doom and HELL has a home in your Metal Heart.

8 / 10


"Curse And Chapter" Track-listing:

1. Gehennae Incendiis
2. The Age of Nefarious
3. The Disposer Supreme
4. Darkhangel
5. Harbinger Of Death
6. End Ov Days
7. Deathsquad (Instrumental)
8. Something Wicked This Way Comes
9. Faith Will Fall
10. Land Of The Living Dead
11. Deliver Us from Evil
12. A Vespertine Legacy

Hell Lineup:

David Bower - Vocals
Kev Bower - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Andy Sneap - Guitar
Tony Speakman - Bass
Tim Bowler - Drums

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