Ready for the most frantic’n’furious 13 minutes you’ll hear all year? Good job - The Hell hail from Norfolk County, Cleveland, and their self-titled debut album is a teeth-rattlingly excellent slab of hardcore punk; probably the best since… ooh, I dunno. Bootlicker? Slant? Judy & The Jerks? Chain Whip? Like all of those records, it’s a trip back to the glory days of hardcore - arguably several periods that could fit under that term - and it’s relentlessly, almost heroically great. Ten songs fly by before you’ve even had the chance to fully process anything beyond a general sensation best summed up with the word/sound/guttural exhalation ‘WHOAAAA’. The best bit? Each and every one of them totally fucking rips.
You’ll hear flashes of everything you love etched into these grooves: the raucous chaos of the Kings of Punk themselves, Poison Idea; the SoCal brattiness and garagey schlock of TSOL, Angry Samoans and/or Circle Jerks when they were all getting started; the speed, breakdowns and temper tantrums of NYHC before all that heavy metal stuff got involved… But of course you didn’t come here for a catalogue of soundalikes, you came here to get your ears melting and your synapses pulsating til they’re spinning like an angle grinder against the inside of your skull. Right? Well, that’s why I’m here anyway. And lemme tell ya, this delivers on that front: The Hell are their own beast, un-peg-down-able by mere reference points and speculation as to possible influences. Let’s just agree that they’ve absorbed all of it and made a sound that’s recognisable but wholly their own. Which is to say: you’ll dig it.
You want context? Hell, I’ll give ya context. The Hell feature ex-members of former Lumpy faves Cruelster, Sorry State nihilists Woodstock 99 and D-beat aggro types Hysteria, among others. Maybe that list gives you a firmer picture of where they’re coming from; maybe you read it and nodded politely, making furious mental notes to check ‘em all out when you get five minutes (and you really, really should). But let’s face it - in the here and now, all this detail is ephemera. What matters is this record. Don’t make me type out a hackneyed quip about the devil having all the best tunes (gahhh, too late), or the road to The Hell being paved with good intentions (booooooo). Just do what’s only right and proper in the circumstances, and get the fuck involved. This ludicrously short and effortlessly brilliant record demands it.
Released in UK/ Europe via Drunken Sailor Records, Not For The Weak Records in the USA
First 100 on White Vinyl
100 White/ 400 Black