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Hellish Outcast: Stay of Execution

I really like extreme metal—in all its variety—but I feel like I'm quickly running out of synonyms for "heavy" or "brutal" or "aggressive." Most of the new releases I've heard this year are trying to be as crushing and as powerful as possible. How does one describe all this heaviness without falling into clichés?

Similar questions could be asked about bands trying to work within genre expectations while pushing them a little bit here and there. Hellish Outcast is one of the bands that want to stay true to the qualities that make extreme metal great while also making its music stand out from the crowd. To acknowledge the band's debt to the past, Hellish Outcast recorded this album at Grieghallen Studios in Bergen, the legendary location where several key Norwegian black metal albums were produced.

Hellish Outcast's, like the black metal bands of the past, has worked hard to court a certain amount of controversy. Earlier releases were unflinching in their treatments of contemporary problems in the world.

This album is no less tough and no less sinister. I think the best words to describe the music are "heavy" and "clean." By "clean," I mean lean and tight and disciplined. Things move along with direction and purpose, always leading the listener into dark and tormented places. The vocals are often among the darkest elements—and among the lighter. There are even times when things take on a slightly progressive quality, as though the songwriting process for this album wanted to explore new directions. Listen, for example, to "The Wait," an instrumental closing track. This is hard-hitting music, but it's nice to have times when the music allows the listener some pause, not necessarily to relax but to reflect on the dark, chaotic, themes. I was especially fond of "Leave" in this sense, a track that also uses female voices to good effect. On the more extreme side, I also enjoyed "Stay of Execution" and "Torment." Hellish Outcast isn't reinventing the genre, but they are doing a good job of keeping it brutal and strong and aggressive.

Track Listing:
1. Partition of Lust
2. I Can No Longer See the Sun
3. Heresiarch
4. Hunter Supreme
5. Gods of Fear
6. Leave
7. Machines
8. Stay of Execution
9. Morbid Attraction
10. Torment
11. The Wait

Added: February 24th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1517
Language: english

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