Much can be said on the history of Hellmouth. The band led by former Suicide Machines vocalist Jay Navarro and containing members of various other Michigan hardcore bands. The band have little in common with their past ventures. This is not to say the band are playing whiny emo or upbeat pop punk, if anything this would be the antithesis of that. The band play a style of hardcore heavily indebted to 90's metalcore and thrash metal. Lyrically relying on Navarro's past anti government ideologies rather than just being "evil". This allows the band to be slightly different within their given genre. While never going short on the blasphemy metal is known for it is done in a much more "punk rock" way.
The instruments are played perfectly for this style. The guitars remain semi melodic without leaving any grit behind. This makes the songs sound more defiant without losing the hooks that the riffs create. The guitars are the main part in the songs when it comes to the instruments. There is nothing technical about what they do but everything is played with a ruthless efficiency that seems to get lost by many bands that play this general style.
The vocals are the other major part of the album. Navarro's vocals are done perfectly for this. Growling at times to emphasize certain phrases while relying mostly on a raspy scream. The screams help to convey a certain sense of desperation and urgency that lyrics alone can't provide.
The record is truly something of a great hardcore record. Carrying a strong sense of melody without being able to get called a melodic hardcore band. Their obvious metal influences help to carry a darkened pallor across the length of the album. One can clearly tell that the metal parts are done out of love than a urge to avoid fitting in or shoe horn in parts to be "different".
The band that seemed to have been forgotten once former label Ferret changed things up. This allowed the band to escape any previous ideas one had about them. Allowing them to shake whatever preconceived notions one could have about them has allowed Hellmouth to make a record that feels strong, defiant and more streamlined than previous. There is a little bit of everything in this Punk defiance, metal riffs and hardcore attitude all these things make for an impressive record.
8.7 / 10
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