Hail Infernal Darkness


If the death metal greats of the ’90s had heard the Origins and Necrophagists of today, they would have been shocked and mystified – shocked at the speed and technicality, and mystified at how streamlined the sound had become. Somewhere along the way, the raw edge got lost. That’s not necessarily bad, as the artform has evolved in interesting ways. However, sometimes you want your metal raw and bloody – and for that, head to Drawn and Quartered.

This Seattle band lies halfway between Slayer and, say, Hate Eternal or Immolation. Thus, you get modern blastbeats and tweaky dissonance, but you also get raging leads with two of my favorite guitar techniques – pick tapping and whammy bar divebombs. In fact, Hail Infernal Darkness begins straight off with a pick-tapped solo! While I miss the old-school practice of starting songs with solos, beginning the album this way is a real kick to the teeth.

The good news is that the blood keeps flowing. Nine cuts, 41 minutes, pure death metal. The drums sound like drums, the guitars are serrated, and the bass lines are fluid and audible – none of this “just double the guitars an octave lower” bullshit.

The lyrics are, to put it mildly, over-the-top:

Regions now lie quite depopulated
Nothing could be more like hell
Severed heads staked on the houses and steeples
Human quarters hung like leaves from the trees

Lyrics like these must have been fun to write. And more are on the way! A new album, Merciless Hammer of Lucifer, will be out early this year. In the meantime, pick up this infernal slab at Moribund.