In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Stephen Dedalus listens to his school preacher describe hell or “the abode of the damned,” as said in the novel. “Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotten and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone…and then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again…”
III, the latest release (and the final piece of the puzzle to the trilogy of albums) from one-man band Hell conjures up images that are exactly that. It ignites in the mind the smell of putrid foul corpses, the weeping and gnashing of teeth, and fevering fire and brimstone. It also brings the calm of heavy breathing after moments of elevated heart rate and the kind of quiet that only comes moments before dawn makes its arrival. This is a record that every person is going to hear differently. It’s a bleak and complacent record, one that’s as personal as it is expressive. Doom is so much more exceptional when it’s multifaceted and layered and III is just that.
‘Mourn,’ the first track on III is an 18- minute expedition that takes the listener to so many languorous highs and dour lows that you’ll almost be able to hear the sound of your own personal hell at the throws of your shoulders. It begins slow and otherworldly. The guitar sounds suppurate and get into the unconscious like the experience of déjà vu at the most unlikely time. With very little admonition a sludgy doom starts to expand itself as the vocals of M.S.W. snarl and groan. A whirr of murkiness and intonation begin to takeover as the climax of the track shows itself like Satan rising from ashes seething and spitting. The second half of the track is completely malevolent and remorseless as full darkness is exposed to the self. Like a fog of sound slowly encroaching its way forward at a slow pace, ‘Mourn’ comes to an all-encompassing close.
The second track ‘Decedere’ (meaning “to die” in Italian) opens clean and acts as a reprieve from the obscurity of the previous song. Like a cleansing of the palette, it resets the ears and sets them up to take in more stimuli. The sound of the cello takes the cadence and elevates it at a wavelength pace. The beautiful sounds mate with each other to a steady swiftness just as a beatific female voice is heard, carrying all the weight of the songs sorrow. M.S.W. almost swallows her voice with a louder and more forceful wail of growling. It’s as if evil is swallowing the good and hell is swallowing the heavens. From there the dread of the song sets in, like a decent to hell itself. The guitar sounds envelop and hammer away as they contort and tear walls down. A familiar stillness sets in once more in the end like someone trapped in physical suffering finally taking their last breath.
III is an album that should be the soundtrack to a near death experience, it widens the mind while at the same time forcing a person to go inward. This is the kind of album that’ll take you to ominous places you may never wanted to venture to before but will want to experience and re-experience again.
Genre: Sludge Metal/Doom Metal
Record Label: Pesanta Urfolk
M.S.W. – All instruments and vocals