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Hell – Human Remains (Review)

Hell – Human Remains (2011, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. Overture: Themes from “Deathsquad” … 1:14
2. On Earth as it is in Hell … 5:09
3. Plague and Fyre … 5:09
4. The Oppressors … 5:53
5. Blasphemy and the Master … 8:11
6. Let Battle Commence … 4:23
7. The Devil’s Deadly Weapon … 10:14
8. The Quest … 4:21
9. Macbeth … 7:21
10. Save Us from Those Who Would Save Us … 5:05
11. No Martyr’s Cage … 9:00

Band:
David Bower – Vocals
Kev Bower – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Andy Sneap – Guitar
Tony Speakman – Bass
Tim Bowler – Drums

Producer: Andy Sneap

Human Remains is an album I had listened to late last year but I’m just now getting around to reviewing it. The story here is that Hell was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene in the early 1980s but never was able to get around to recording an album. They released a handful of demo tapes and 1 EP before splitting up in 1987. According to Wikipedia, they had signed with the Belgium label Mausoleum but the record company went bankrupt shortly before Hell was to record their debut.

Fast forward to 2008, the surviving original members of Hell (vocalist/guitarist Dave Halliday committed suicide shortly after the group’s disbandment in the ’80s) got together with Sabbat’s vocalist Martin Walkyier & guitarist Andy Sneap (who took guitar lessons from Halliday) to re-record some old Hell tunes for a proper album. After laying down vocals, it was decided Walkyier was not the right man for the job so Kev Bower’s brother David Bower stepped in to re-record Walkyier’s vocals (who had been re-recording the vocals of Dave Halliday!).

I’m actually quite surprised by how little attention this album has received. Even though Metal Hammer magazine has listed it as #6 on their best albums of 2011 list, I haven’t really seen many people talk about this album. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. Though the band seemingly does not like the NWOBHM tag (their Facebook page states their genre as “HELL”), they definitely play in that style while adding other metal elements such as thrash, speed, goth, black, power and symphonic.

I wasn’t even aware of Hell until this release. There are so many NWOBHM bands that came and went without having released a debut album, it’s hard to keep track! When I looked at the album cover and heard that guitarist/producer Andy Sneap was involved, I figured this was going to be really heavy stuff. Something that would be too heavy for my ears. Luckily, it isn’t and don’t let the imagery, lyrics or the over the top vocal theatrical performance of David Bower fool you — it’s all done tongue in cheek.

A couple of the songs are way too long: “Blasphemy and The Master”, “The Devil’s Deadly Weapon” (10 minutes!) and “No Martyr’s Cage” but even those songs have moments worth exploring. The band is definitely are their best with  a straight ahead NWOBHM headbangers like “The Quest”.

And of course, the production is absolutely fantastic. Lots of stuff going on here to give atmosphere. That’s expected when you have Andy Sneap on board who has earned a reputation as one of heavy metal’s best producers.

An obscure gem from just last year, Human Remains should be picked up and listened to by fans of Priest, Maiden, Venom and Mercyful Fate. Here’s hoping this isn’t a one-off and Hell will continue to reign over us for quite some time to come!

Highlights: “On Earth As It Is In Hell”, “The Oppressors”, “Let the Battle Commence”, “The Quest”, “Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us”

http://www.hell-metal.com/
http://www.facebook.com/HELLofficial

Buy ‘Human Remains’ (not literally) at Amazon.com

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

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