Until the end of the year, Hells Headbangers is offering a three-pack of EP CD's by Victimizer, Cerekloth, and Hunters Moon for $15. You can also buy them individually for $7 each. Hells Headbangers favors black and death metal with punk leanings: think Venom, Slaughter (Can), Blasphemy, early Death and Autopsy. It's all very old-school, but don't think of Hells Headbangers as nostalgic. They aren't trying to revive classic sounds — they just realize those sounds never died.

Victimizer - Worthy of Hell

The best of the EP's is Victimizer's, titled Resurrected Abominations because their only full-length, The Final Assault, was supposed to be their last. I prefer Victimizer to most other thrash bands. They are great at evoking the belligerent sleaze that I value in classic thrash. "Worthy of Hell" nails it: Victimizer are sent to hell — mutilated and turned into trash — but they're proud of it. The riffs are melodic and catchy but never saccharine, and Henrik Engkjær's solos charge up the neck and gnash their teeth before darting back again. The song opens with a Reservoir Dogs clip of Michael Madsen shit-talking Harvey Keitel. It closes with Keitel thanking the listener for second-hand smoke. "Worthy of Hell" isn't about the next world; it's about being an unrepentant asshole in this one.

Cerekloth - Touch of the Scythe (excerpt)

In Cerekloth's Pandemonium Prayers, it's evident that it's the guys from Victimizer playing. Cerekloth's line-up here is more than half Victimizer; the other members are a guitarist from Church Bizarre and the drummer from Karnarium. Cerekloth have little of Church Bizarre or Karnarium's gelatinous ugliness, though, and a lot more of Victimizer's thrash. JBP's voice is still his, and Engkjær's solos are still distinct, albeit squashed and murdered for death metal. Pandemonium Prayers is short, but it's good Swedish death.

Hunters Moon - The Ravens Swoon

Hunters Moon are two former members of Australia's Nocturnal Graves. However, The Serpent's Lust sounds almost nothing like Nocturnal Graves, and almost exactly like Blood Fire Death-era Bathory. Although the music does have elements that set it apart from Bathory, the biggest divergence is in the lyrics. Blood Fire Death used Woden's Hunt to frame songs about war throughout history. In contrast, The Serpent's Lust connects the serpent Lucifer and the serpent Ourobouros, and considers history as a cycle: ravens eat your flesh, but you get reborn to wear a raven's skin. It's beautiful stuff, and a fitting end to a trilogy where one band is actually back from the grave.

- Anthony Abboreno

Hunters Moon