Hell – Human Remains (Nuclear Blast Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Talk about dusting off the cobwebs, eh? Hell are a long-forgotten NWOBHM band (that’s “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”) that have been given a new lease on life thanks to hot-shot producer Andy Sneap’s (Exodus, Megadeth) affinity for the band. Sneap likes Hell so much, that he’s now in the ranks as a full-time guitarist, and was also kind enough to lend his superior production skills to Human Remains, the band’s first proper full-length album.

An interesting idea – Hell have taken 10 of their songs from the 80’s and have recorded them here. Perhaps because so many bands are flaunting their traditional/classic metal influences, or these songs are actually that good,Human Remains has its share of worthy moments, including “On Earth As It Is Hell,” where singer David Bower twists and contorts his voice (think a less demonic King Diamond) over a bed of pile-driving riffs. Bower can get a little annoying on “The Oppressors,” where his falsetto and tenor borders on the comedic side, but add quite a bit of personality to the proceedings.

A couple of epic numbers are the real winners, specifically “Blasphemy and the Master,” an eerie, cinematic number that unfurls a handful of cool 80’s metal riffs. Same bodes for “The Devil’s Deadly Weapon,” which is probably the pick of the litter, boasting a killer riff transition in the verse that lets Bower get all theatrical on us. Pretty entertaining stuff.

Most of the bands from the NWOBHM era have used up their relevance, so for a relative unknown like Hell to come along with an album like Human Remains has given their dormant brethren some hope. Then again, these bands won’t have the luxury of Andy Sneap in the ranks, but the proof is in the pudding – Human Remains doesn’t sound dated at all.

www.hell-metal.com

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)