By now it’s well known throughout the Midwest that this old man is a thrash junkie. A bona fide Gally Thrashicanus. Before putting a thrash album on, my eyes begin to gleam with a wild and ravenous light. But not so much with the new crop of thrash metal bands like Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, and Bonded By Blood, what with their crisp clean high tops and head bands. I like the grit, the grime, the grisly thrash metal of yore. My crusty ass was around when this stuff broke for the first time so the emulation doesn’t get my gears going, but when a band like Hellish captures the stench of those old shoes so well, I start to feel flatulent. At my age, it is hard to tell the difference between gas and excitement.
I choose to believe that Hellish spent the last few decades lost in the mountains of Chile, their only technology an analog eight-track recorder and their instruments. Thusly shut off from the internet and trends in music, they recorded Theurgist’s Spell not as a throwback to the golden thrash days, but as a result of complete and total isolation. Considering they formed in 2010 and have only a few demos and one live recording to their names, my brain tells me that is not true, but my blackened heart flips it the bird and goes along with the program. There’s a filth from the ages that new thrash, with rare exception, just cannot catch, and Hellish have that evil early sound. Theurgist’s Spell is to thrash what Skelethal‘s excellent Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity EP was to death metal. Incidentally, my review of that purple-hued beast dropped a year ago today as of me writing this, and if I may be so pompous as to quote my own review (and considering the fact that our new mast here at (C)angry Metal Guy boldly declares “snobbery” methinks I’m in the clear), “[Hellish] don’t sound retro, they sound authentic.” Not a modern band playing moth-eaten music, but like a little slice of the thrash metal pie from when Sodom, Kreator and Sepultura laid the tracks that later moved the train directly to death metal.
Sometimes the accent is all you can hear and when you can figure out what the fuck vocalist/bassist Necromancer is spewing about in his high pitched howl, like the pronunciation of “Saaaytaahn” in the opener “Total Darkness,” he snipes those ESL twangs with deadly accuracy. Guitarist Francisco certainly has a gift for thrashtastic melodies. That the instrumental “Arrival of Satan” holds up is testament to that. Cristian pounds the kick snare combo with a ferocity that would make John Henry’s pubes go straight, but it’s when the closer “Assassin Mind” kicks in with it yet again that it becomes clear the tempo doesn’t vary much with the engine revving at pretty much full steam the whole time. The lack of variety makes me wonder how a full length would hold up, but at just over 13 and a half minutes, Theurgist’s Spell doesn’t come off as The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave. Rather, it’s a brief and fun enough romp down memory lane that allows the listener to appreciate the primitive elements that made Hellish‘s forefathers our heroes and once again get that glorious feeling when music sounded genuinely evil.