Artist: Devil Lee Rot
Album Title: At Hell's Deep
Label: Iron Fist Productions
This is the fifth full-length release from Devil Lee Rot, a Swedish band that plays blackened Heavy Metal with NWOBHM influences. This is a side band of Thomas Karlsson, the frontman from Autopsy Torment and Pagan Rites.
"At Hell's Deep" is exactly what you should expect from Devil Lee Rot: rampaging heavy metal guitars, snarled lyrics, and pounding drums, all with a strongly blackened approach. The production here is excellent, crystal clear with plenty of low-end. In comparison with "Metalizer", Karlsson's voice sounds slightly weak and rough -- perhaps the fault of too many shots of Jagermeister?
Not that it matters, because the songs here are easily on par with the best of his previous work. "The Battle/At Helm's Deep" starts things off fast, with a good old-fashioned thrashing number. "Man Made of Steel" is a slower song in the tradition of "Pirates of Hell". There's a great solo at the end of this one. "Prepare for War" is just amazing, with overblown riffing and a sing-along chorus that'll have you banging your head like mad. This is one of the best new songs I've heard in some time. "Danger in the Dark" speeds things up again. It delivers some blasphemous lyrics, along with some cool vocal/guitar interplay during the chorus. "Heaven Will Pay" keeps both the pace and the blasphemy, and adds some thrashier moments as well. "Blade In the Night" is an old-school metal stomper, with some of the finest vocal work on the album: "Blade in the night! Blade in the night! Stab! The enemy's back!" "Future Invaders" is a neat tale of demon aliens, or something to that effect. The mid-paced part halfway through this one makes it one of my favorite from this album. "Devil Lust" is a slow, mournful metal ballad, with yet more great lyricism on Karlsson's part, and a monstrous solo. "Metal Avengers" lives up to its title, with rousing riffs and a purely METAL refrain. Lastly, "Fistful of Fury" brings things to a close with breakneck speed and some more great lead guitar work.
Devil Lee Rot is just plain fun -- this is drinking, headbanging, shouting-along metal, and it's all the better for it. "At Hell's Deep" is a worthy follow-up to "Metalizer", one with a place among my favorite new albums of the year. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Prepare for War", "Blade In the Night", "Devil Lust"