Hellbastard - Feral (PATAC Records)

Ripping crust and feral thrash...
Release Date: 
16 Jul 2015 - 11:30pm

Difficult. That’s why we love ‘em, of course, but there’s no denying that the latest album from UK crust Gods Hellbastard is heavy going. 

And I don’t just mean because of the uncompromising nature of the sounds you’ll find being pumped out of your speakers when you put this album on. That’s a given. And in many terms, Hellbastard have never sounded better. The chugging riff warfare of Outsider of the Year is superb; the band have created their own sonic arena over the years and Outsider… is one of the best expositions of that sound that they’ve come up with. But there’s a skittish, almost schizophrenic nature to the track, which ends with some bass driven-filth of the highest order; but even in the third section of this track the band chops things up further, with an acoustic intro and strange, sampled orchestras suddenly dropping in on events. It’s confusing, disorientating even, but it makes for strangely compelling listening

That’s no bad thing, of course, but if you’re looking for some simplistic, d-beat driven, cider n’glue fuelled thrash and bash from Hellbastard in 2015 then you’re in for a disappointment.

That said, Shame on Us does feature some absolutely magnificent thrash riffage, straight outta 1987, whilst And the Point of Your Being Is…? Comes complete with a guest guitar appearance from Andy Sneap (and a harmony guitar solo!), so there is definitely enough chunky guitarwork happening to keep the heart – and interest - rate high. And in standout track Wychcraft (which features crust God Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller of Amebix and Tau Cross), the band has fashioned a bleak, unforgiving crust epic for the ages, a meisterwerk that they can be intensely proud of. 

So, whilst this isn’t the best thing Hellbastard have ever released, it’s not one of the worst either, and there’s plenty here to get your teeth into if you’ve got a bit of time to invest in it. Well worth your time and energy.