Hell Bent hail from Rhode Island. This band conquers by spewing three-ish minute tracks that combine searing elements of thrash, d-beat, crossover, and hardcore – if you need a label beyond “whoah”. Hell Bent boasts the menacing vocals of long time screamer, Aaron Badger, of Straight To Hell, Ulcer, and Paindriver. Other members have spent time in Dropdead and Neon Bitches. Their demo, which is this, was released last year on a very limited cassette version aside from digitally. Kicking off the new year proper, they are repressing with a more expanded run on cassette.
Hell Bent execute furious, dark metal. Six tracks here exhibiting speed-driven riffs with catchy time changes and powerful bass. The brash guitars and pounding drums push and push behind the experienced lungs of Badger. “Yeast” is a blistering opener. The one and a half minute scorcher is just fast; powerviolence/hardcore, again, if you need to slap on a genre tag. “Desert Death Lord” follows with all the same aspects except leaning toward more a thrashy jam, with taut riffs and more dynamic parts in the songwriting. Still blazing. “Canis Lupus Superion” also travels at blinding speed with a crossover nod in the riff; repeating and charging. Badger’s growls are beefy and penetrating. The breakdown ¾ way through gives a good chunky space to embellish in its two minutes. Made for the pit.
“Bastard Curse of Abraham” starts with a slower trudging pace which gains momentum, then ebbs into the mid-tempo, building the anticipation. After 90 seconds the final minute, spazzes forward again with tight thrash riffs. The great titled “Condemned to Life” follows, with an infectious, energizing into that moves into dark, down-tuned thrash. Badgers commanding vocals are gnarly. This is a catchy hardcore feeling track, damaging and angry. Pounding fast, the closer, “Scythian Horde” rides that trash gallop for the verse while other parts utilize a sharp charge forward of hardcore speedy riffs and double time drums.
This is a great demo I have been enjoying for over a year. Happy to see it get some wider distribution. The bands mixing of genre attributes are invigorating. I do look forward to a tighter production on a proper release to pull off the trashier parts (I sometimes want the drums to be more crisp, succinct). But this is raw and vicious. It’s a minor criticism that could be fixed on a non-demo release. See these dudes live if you get the chance. Killer honest metal/hardcore with a voracious hunger. And the bite to match.
Silver print on black cassette, deluxe edition comes with an embroidered patch and sticker.