Label: Self-released (digital) / Hellforced Records (cassette)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but odds are, if you’re in to metal as much as you (probably) claim to be, then you need this in your life. At just shy of ten minutes, The Manifestation Of Evil by one-man band Hellripper rips up all the tropes of one-man black metal bands. Rather than taking us to the tenth sub-level of nocturnal poisoning, Hellripper instead takes us through all the best aspects of blackened thrash and metalpunk, beer in hand, headbanging like a maniac, if you are false don’t entry. In short, it does all those things music like this should do. It’s loud, fast, dirty, and so damned good.
Opener “Flesh Ripper” should make it clear what you’re in for, if the artwork didn’t already. Blackened thrash with more than a few hints of crust, D-beat (the bass-led break at the 1 minute 20 mark is delightfully filthy), and a solo that is pure classic metal. It doesn’t give you any time to catch your breath, and flows effortlessly in to “Total Mayhem”, the highlight of the EP for me. Everything seems to shift up a gear for this track, getting filthier, faster, and nastier. The feeling of energy is absolutely infectious, and is sure to get you throwing devil horns at your stereo, if you weren’t already. There’s no arguing with a track like this. If the solo just before the two minute mark hasn’t got you headbanging, odds are that you’re already dead, or just not that in to metal in the first place.
“Black Mass Sacrifice” brings the first-album-Bathory feel to the fore at points, combining it with the energy and restlessness of the best 80s thrash to great effect. Closer “Trial By Fire” has a darker atmosphere, but there’s still no disguising the sheer joy that comes from the prime metalpunk on display; and the NWOBHM-esque melodic guitars just over halfway through are one of the highlights of the EP.
In truth, The Manifestation Of Evil is the kind of record that goes for the immediate hit, and succeeds in it. Metalpunk doesn’t need to reinvent itself to succeed; it needs to be loud, fast, and nasty, and Hellripper succeeds on all those counts. It’s the kind of record for which your leathers or battle jacket are pretty much mandatory. If the likes of Sabbat, Midnight, Abigail, and their comparably vicious ilk – not to mention the classic bands who inspired this sort of thing in the first place – are on regular rotation for you, then The Manifestation Of Evil is sure to be a new favourite. Killer artwork, too.
The Manifestation Of Evil is available to stream and download via Bandcamp, and can also be purchased there and from Hellforced Records on cassette, limited to 200 copies; or via Contaminated Tones Productions, limited to 100 copies; and a European version is due to be released by Eldritch Lunar Miasma Records later in the year.