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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Hell - 2013 Curse And Chapter
Hell - 2013 Curse And Chapter

ALBUM: Curse And Chapter
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
SERIAL: NB 3178-2
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: David Bower - vocals * Kev Bower - guitar * Andy Sneap - guitar * Tony Speakman - bass * Tim Bowler - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gehennae Incendiis * 02 The Age Of Nefarious * 03 The Disposer Supreme * 04 Darkhangel * 05 Harbinger Of Death * 06 End Ov Days * 07 Deathsquad * 08 Something Wicked This Way Comes * 09 Faith Will Fall * 10 Land Of The Living Dead * 11 Deliver Us From Evil * 12 A Vespertine Legacy



Before being directed to the existence of this album I have to admit I had no idea who Hell were, let alone they were part of the NWOBHM in the early 80's. The fact they never recorded an album in their first stint probably had something to do with their obscurity and the suicide of original vocalist Dave Halliday in 1987 signaled their initial breakup. Interestingly the reformation of Hell (with original members Kev Bower, Tony Speakman and Tim Bowler) was conjured up by devout Hell fanatic and noted metal producer Andy Sneap of Sabbat, who was taught guitar by Halliday in his youth. This led to 2011's 'Human Remains' where Hell finally got the chance to present their lost 80's tracks. Two years later they're back for another shot, with their histrionic brand of traditional metal keeping the 80's alive both musically and visually, with their occult imagery intact from their early days.

The Songs
Lobbing reference points at this album is relatively simple, to the point the whole review could be comprised of them if the need was there. It's a fairly lengthy listening experience and on the whole I feel several tracks are overlong and the album drags as a result. There's a power metal tone throughout and nods to Helloween can be heard on 'The Age Of Nefarious' complete with its melodic parody of the hippie classic 'Aquarius' from 'Hair.' There's an abundance of Victorian synths on 'The Disposer Supreme' as Hell try to conjure up some 1890's atmospherics, but mostly it's average power metal bluster. David Bower does a good Geoff Tate imitation on 'Darkhangel' but there's clearly a problem with lasting hooks, this track plainly unmelodic. 'Harbinger Of Death' is a bit more like it, faster and full of impressive guitar work, a good showcase of 80's styled metal that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1983. There's an undeniable Judas Priest influence on 'End Ov Days' at various points which tends to stifle any originality, but let's face it who is these days anyway? 'Deathsquad' is an instrumental and aside from the crude keyboards this is pure Iron Maiden, a par for the course influence by anybody's standards. The operatic vocals that fill 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' are slightly overbearing, the song a mixture of U.D.O. type metal and Queensryche pomp, when the latter were viable anyway. To be honest the remainder of the album tends to repeat itself from here, with well-worn power metal riffs and dueling keyboards meshing blandly and without lasting effect. If Gamma Ray and 90's Savatage do it for you then this will be aural magic. There's a few decent riffs in 'Deliver Us From Evil' that revert to early Saxon like proportions, but sadly it's too brief and based on this alone it seems more natural than the continuing Euro metal onslaught.

In Summary
Hell's new lease of life is probably vindication for themselves and their fans who were deprived of them decades ago due to circumstances beyond their control. Somehow this effort doesn't quite measure up as a standout album of 2013 due to the problems as described above. There's an abundance of material which hurts it, where maybe removing three tracks might have helped. For power metal buffs it's definitely worth investigating, especially if you're that way inclined. Also good for a laugh is Hell's stage show and vocalist David Bower's Satan costume which epitomizes Hell's image. Check out bassist Speakman also with his face paint intact; if that isn't Ronnie James Dio reincarnated then this just might be my album of the year after all!

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#1 | gdazegod on December 12 2013 22:25:50
Good article. Yes, probably a touch too long, but I do like their imagery. Hopefully they can fine-tune it for the next one.
#2 | gdazegod on December 12 2013 22:29:25
Here they are live at Bloodstock (Nov, 2013). Dave Bower on stilts.. WTF?
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