Well crafted blackened thrash metal may not be hard to come by, but a band that’s engaging and writes plenty of diverse material is a rarity. As with most of these bands, you’re obviously going to get the Skeletonwitch or Toxic Holocaust comparison, but oftentimes a band will craft their identity to differ themselves from the larger bands in their respective styles. Of course, it doesn’t help that black metal and thrash metal have mountains and mountains of these cookie-cutter bands, so what’s stopping blackened thrash bands from doing this same exact thing and falling into line?
North Carolina’s All Hell are a novelty in a genre where it’s easy to conform. The band’s recently released third album, The Grave Alchemist, takes the established blackened thrash sound, almost played through an 80’s style akin to a more vicious rendition of Midnight, but throws in some of the primitive and savage Celtic Frost rhythms for good measure. (Think Morbid Tales-esque influences) However what furthers All Hell from the rest of the bunch is that, almost in perfect synchronization with the obviously Castlevania-inspired artwork, is that there’s a small taste of a gothic undertone throughout. Whether it’s the band’s lyrics or something about their composition, there’s a flavor of uniqueness to All Hell’s album and it makes for an enjoyable listen.
As with most albums I’ve ended up enjoying, All Hell make the smart, conscious decision to have diverse songwriting throughout The Grave Alchemist. There’s no genre-bending or attempts to change the game here, but with 12 songs and not a moment wasted to filler or weak songs. From their thrashiest pieces to the simpler, more punk-inspired work, All Hell know how to keep your attention for 40 or so minutes and keep you coming back.
The Grave Alchemist is available now on the band’s Bandcamp page. Stream “Vampiric Lust” on YouTube below.