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Bombs of Hades - The Serpent's Redemption" Review

by Matt Hensch

Sweden's prime cultural export happens to be death metal, but names like God Macabre or Abhoth are seldom mentioned among discussions involving Entombed, or Dismember, or Grave, or another namable Swedish death metal faction. Sweden's first taste of death metal emerged from the works of God Macabre and Abhoth, as they were some of Satan's harbingers in a little country that soon became a diabolical force despite small discographies and short biographies. Bombs of Hades came to fruition several years after the aforementioned groups were laid to rest, but their soldiers remain fighting throughout "The Serpent's Redemption." With names like Butch Ekman or Jonas Stålhammar infesting the work of this old-school death metal project, carnage is not only expected, but welcomed home.

The great thing about "The Serpent's Redemption" is its honesty. No nonsense whatsoever. "The Serpent's Redemption" is all about filthy death metal riding on the remnants of primitive guitar licks and totally old-school processes. Stålhammar's fantastic growls are layered over the distorted pounding of death metal madness heaving itself over holy soil and blessing it with its blackened curses. Yea, this kind of thing has been done before by many bands, but Bombs of Hades has the riffs and the attitude to justify their work. The sound quality thankfully steers away from the fake, processed gunk often considered appropriate for extreme metal, instead opting for a savagely rare and undercooked demonstration of razor-sharp riffs coiling in front of a forceful bass and explosive percussion. With the fundamentals captured, how can you deny Bombs of Hades?

Guess what: you can't, unless you're stupid, and I hope you're not stupid. "The Serpent's Redemption" hosts ten iconoclastic anthems of Swedish madness, hurling quick, catchy numbers like "Skull Collector" or the relentless beating of "Darkness, My Soul," which is so primitive and bestial that it’s probably my favorite track. Stålhammar and crew twist the tale a bit throughout the title track's lengthy ritual of creepy, mid-paced death metal, and even toss up a monstrous ten-minute monolith called "Scorched Earth," which incorporates a variety of fiery samples and the same slaughtering death metal showcased throughout the album. They strike traditional ground with "Crawl Away and Bleed Forever" and "Incubus Descending," both songs representing classic death metal in its purest form.

Although Bombs of Hades was originally a crust punk project, they quickly emerged into a shocking power rightfully honoring the identity these gentlemen helped create, and "The Serpent's Redemption" acts not as a seminal statement, but a reassurance that Stålhammar and his troops of doom are Sweden's death metal demigods. No surprises or sudden changeups await you here, but Bombs of Hades doesn't need to shake up the awesome scenario they've crafted from just a few retrogressive ideas and an ounce of old-school integrity. Prophets following the aged path of death metal will find this absolutely glorious, and it's easily one of the finer death metal offerings from 2012. Stellar stuff.

Bombs of Hades - The Serpent's Redemption"


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