Monday, July 21, 2014

Principality of Hell: Fire & Brimstone (2014)

Back Patch Territory

I’m just guessing that if you went to see Principality of Hell, you’d probably see a lot of dudes with back patches in the crowd. Call it a hunch, but this is just the kind of bread-and-butter tr00/kvlt/underground metal that I associate with cut-off denim vests. Debut Fire & Brimstone is coming out August 18 on W.T.C. Productions.

There’s simply nothing new here, but there’s not supposed to be. But it does happen to represent a list of all the things considered most cred-worthy in 80’s metal, so let’s go down the list and check off a few boxes.

The title track opens on something I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from modern Darkthrone. It’s got a Motörhead riff with plenty of old-school leads and a grunting, blackened thrash delivery worthy of a bullet belt. The vocalist throws in a grunt near the start of “Codex Inferno,” just in case you couldn’t tell they were paying homage to Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost. (There was no danger of missing it, with that riff and guitar tone, but the signpost is appreciated anyway.) The next few tracks run through a blend of Venom and Teutonic thrash. “Hellfire Legions” is built of steady drumming and a mid-paced riff with epic-sounding touches—a nod to Bathory, if I’ve ever heard one. The record closes out on an Exodus cover, and I don’t think they could have picked a more appropriate Bay Area band.

This record is a series of unabashed homages, or an honest pastiche, and that’s just fine with me.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

W.T.C. Productions

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