You might say Virginia is for lovers, but you’d probably be drowned in all the bad vibes swirling around the state before you could get that painful platitude past your rosy little lips. How else could you explain the sheer preponderance of morbidly preoccupied hardcore that the region produces? Something in the air or the dirt that fills them with such angst? Or maybe their blood acts as a vessel for some unnamable primordial and repressed fear, passed down between the generations. Whatever the source of that fear, perhaps death is better than facing it.
No matter the reason or explanation, that fact remains that Virginia has been a fertile prowling ground for some fantastic bands as of late- from the gothy Ghouli to the dread seasoned Fried Egg. And now, emerging from the grave soil, we find another, Richmond’s Private Hell. Lead by vocalist, guitarist, and horror aficionado, Mike Kent, and with members of some of the aforementioned groups (plus Sweeties) in tow, they are ready to rip up the hidden enclaves of despair that pockmark this Nation and deliver onto them a terror and awe more pervasive than the one they displaced.
What makes Privat Hell’s self-titled demo so compelling is the ease with which they meld ripping hard rock riffs and grooves with d-beat propulsion under the shrowd of an overbearing and ominous atmosphere. “M M M” sounds like Dwid Hellion crashing a seance and commanding the summoned spirits to attack those in attendance (something these wayward souls do without hesitation). “Waiting for the End” spills out through a classic Corrosion of Conformity thrash groove that fills in the space around your head like wet cement, burying you alive in toxic reverb- it’s as heavy as sin and a thick and unbearable as consequence. Finally, the title track sounds like a funeral service that concludes with a bunch of crust punks lighting the funeral parlor on fire while it’s still full of mourners- a hot stumbling, fray of chaos and perverse catharsis.
Buy and stream Private Hell below via Bandcamp: