Album Title: Hell Is Here On Earth
Label: The Number Thirteen Productions
This is the first album from Hellrealm, an American black metal band comprised of JMK of Scepter along with A.M.M.M. on session drums.
The sound on this album is totally filthy -- the vocals and guitar are drenched in distortion, the drums seem dry and distant, and the bass is buried deep beneath the other instruments. Each song is built on a mid-paced, repetitive guitar theme, with equally stripped-down lyrics and drumming. Slight variations in each create a thick atmosphere of illness and unease. The pained, raspy vocals are perfectly understandable, and they pummel the listener with descriptions of filth and hopelessness. The repetition of certain words and riffs draws the listener into a trancelike state. Even the booklet art reinforces the feeling: the lyrics for each song are illustrated by a sparse, eerie black-and-white drawing.
Fortunately, the music is more than meaty enough to keep this album from slipping into drone-metal territory. The guitar work reminds me of old Bathory, only with one or two isolated riffs stretched out over an entire song. Though the songwriting is relentlessly minimalistic, it's clear that the individual elements in each song have been carefully selected for maximum effect.
After listening to this album, it was hard for me to believe that none of the tracks on this album are longer than three minutes or so. The timeless, ritualistic atmosphere of "Hell Is Here On Earth" makes each song seem like a lifetime! I haven't really heard anything precisely like Hellrealm before, but VON or Beherit might be the closest points of comparison. If you like those bands, you ought to check this out. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Fornicator of the Beast", "Dirty Filthy"