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.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Blood Harvest Records
Websites: hellish.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/hellishchile
Releases Worldwide: November 27th, 2015

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  • Dr. Scorpion

    Back in the day.

  • This is essentially Destruction’s Sentence of Death EP wiith ever so slightly different riffs.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      That’s a good thing right?

      • A very good thing. Those old Destruction platters were pure gold.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Mad Butcher and Agent Orange are two of my favourite records!
          I would love to see yourself and Al team up to do another retrospective piece. An overview of the classic and lost hidden gems of the Teutonic scene.

          You guys do requests right…

          • I love old thrash. I love old German thrash. Agent Orange is much more polished than many classics, but such a great album. There are a lot of overlooked thrash albums, not just from Germany. I’m game if Druhm is.

          • Sign me up!

          • If might be a fun series to do by region. German thrash, US (which we could further break up to East Coast and Bay Area and so on), South American, etc.

          • Let’s not get carried away now!

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            I can’t stop hitting the up arrow on this :)

  • Rise

    A thrash junkie like me? Excellent. I recommend you check out last year’s Ripper’ “Raising the Corpse” and Repugnant’ “Epitome of Darkness” if you haven’t already.

    • I’m on it. Now do they sound like old thrash or like a bunch of guys trying to sound like old thrash?

      • Rise

        Ain’t all thrash bands (aside from Vektor and Voivod) trying to sound like old thrash?

        But I was not fully honest. These two albuns leans toward a more extreme sound than Pleasure to Kill. Death/Thrash i think it’s called nowadays.

        • Of course they are! Some succeed better than others. Voivod will always sound like Voivod and thank the metal gods for that!

          • Rise

            Voivod have earned that right. Vektor might as well. But the metal gods? Isn’t metal stuff satanic? /chuckles

          • Just the good kind.

  • Elton Chagas

    I actually like this kind of non-superproduced stuff in thrash metal. It makes it sound pretty raw and energetic, even if the music is not that creative…

    • Precisely what I dug about it. It reminded me of when these bands were forging the genre.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Thrash isn’t one of my favourite genres, but I always enjoy your reviews, Al.

    • The check is in the mail. It’ll bounce like a baby, but it’s still in the mail!

  • Wilhelm

    Man, the venom that’s spewing from that voice is just chilling. fuck these new thrash bands with their polished, overproduced, compressed sound…this is great, raise the Flag of Hate!

    • He so has the old crazed sound. Satan bless him!

  • Alex Benedict

    but what really is the problem with re-thrash? Perhaps for someone who isn’t familiar with the original thrash bands, re-thrash is fresh and exciting. Or simply someone who heard re-thrash first. The same giddiness you feel for old school thrash could be the way newer metal fans feel about re-thrash. I think it’s your perspective that pollutes your enjoyment of re-thrash, not so much a problem with the music itself.

    • I can’t argue with what you are saying. In fact, I pretty much make the same point in the review – it is because I was listening back then that I have a hard time getting into re-thrash. It is my perspective for sure. The music is fine, the guys sure can play, and you’ll note that I don’t bash those bands, but what I really loved about prototypical thrash metal is these guys didn’t have a handbook. They were bashing it out as they went, often times playing to the edges of their ability and that was exciting and still is when a band manages to capture that sound again.

      • Alex Benedict

        “these guys didn’t have a handbook” I really like that! Even though I enjoy a lot of new thrash music, it can be a bit formulaic. I think I tend to lean more to the polished side of production though, which I understand can come off as uninspired and lacking in that certain thrash energy. I felt compelled to comment in the first place because I feel that most of the re-thrash reviews on this site unfairly criticize it for something it can never be: completely fresh and energetic and exciting and all that (okay maybe Vektor). And I feel that this criticism of being derivative drivel doesn’t plague other genres of metal.
        Anyway, I enjoyed your review and thanks for the reply!

        • I gave it more thought and what I came up with is I feel most of the re-thrash bands are somewhat tongue in cheek. Dressing like the old guard, lifting names from old albums and so forth. The old thrash bands were serious as a heart attack for the most part.

  • sbe

    this reminds me a bit of Protector’s Golem album, which yes, I like that.