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Pure Sweet Hell: Voyeurs of Utter Destruction as Beauty

Pure Sweet Hell is a side project of Nevermore drummer Van Williams, and he teams up here with Christ Eichhorn (guitar/bass/keyboard programming) and Jim (Ravenfeeder) Colson for a bizarre metal album that is highly technical and equally avant-garde. Williams and Colson share the vocals throughout the CD, which at times comes across as a death metal album, yet is very complex and technical, enough so that it should appeal to progressive metal followers.

There are times that the music and vocals are so off the wall, as on the furious "Golgotha on My Mind", that you are shaking your head in wonder just as much as you are in amazement at the blinding riffs that are flying around. Think of a more technical Strapping Yound Lad and you have a good idea of what to expect at times on this CD. The drum work of Williams on "Innocence and the Beast" is brutal and gymnastic, and coupled with the lethal riffs of Eichhorn make for a dynamite and deadly duo. The influence of Williams' regular band Nevermore can be heard on the power thrash of "Swallow", a thick and chunky riff-monster, while there is some wacky futuristic doom (I know, sounds strange, but it's the only way to describe it) on "Undone", complete with processed vocals, electronics, and brontosaurus guitar dirges. The band gets purely maniacal on "Rave Song", while 'The Killers" is lean and mean death metal, featuring loads of bone crunching and heavy riffs.

The vocals might be a tad monotonous or maniacal for some on Voyeurs of Utter Destruction as Beauty, but they really do fit the style of the songs, and the guitar work of Eichhorn is very impressive throughout and will appeal to all fans of metal music. Many listeners may not truly understand what Pure Sweet Hell are trying to get at here, but what the heck, the music is different, it's complex, and heavy as "pure sweet hell".

Track Listing
1) Innocence and the Beast
2) Scared About Everything
3) Golgotha On My Mind
4) Swallow
5) Undone
6) Gehenna
7) Hangfire
8) Rave Song
9) Take Away
10) The Killers
11) What Your Pain Is
12) Beautiful Suicide
13) Dr. Death

Added: April 8th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Crash Music
Hits: 2515
Language: english

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Pure Sweet Hell: Voyeurs of Utter Destruction as Beauty
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-08 10:17:39
My Score:

Pure Sweet Hell is the side project of Nevermore's amazing drummer Van Williams. Williams not only plays drums but he also does the vocals on the album. Hooking up with him is the multi-instrumentalist Christ Eichhorn on guitars, bass, and keyboards. The duo join forces in order to create short, compact yet utterly brutal songs that are a bit like Devin Townsend's Strapping Young Lad, only less layered and more direct.

Williams screams and yells through most of the album and it's quite surprising the man is capable of so much. He's always been a terrific drummer, but in Pure Sweet Hell his drumming is of secondary importance to his highly brutal, screamed vocal lines. The guitar work is chunky, full of melodic hooks and rhythms. There aren't really any lead solos though, the disc being closer to modern metal at times with song that rarely see the three-minute break. Highlights include the blackened thrash metal of "Innocence and the Beast", with vocals that are so heavy and pissed off, you'll be quite surprised to discover Van Williams could as well front an underground metal band playing black meets death metal. "Scared About Everything" follows in a similar fashion, except that it contains more death metal growls than black shrieks. Just as you start thinking Pure Sweet Hell shares absolutely nothing in common with William's main band, "Golgotha on My Mind" finds him doing some Nevermore-inspired vocals. I bet even Warrel Dane must be pleased to hear this track. This is more thrash metal, only with an updated 2000's sound to it. The sludgy heavy intro of "Undone" features a lot of distorted vocal lines, a thick wall of guitar swell, creepy sound effects, and angry vocals. All of this chaos leads into the album's centrepiece "Gehenna", kicking off with great trumpet beats, acoustic guitars, serious production, and even some clean vocals from Williams. The guy sounds uncannily Nevermore-ish on this piece, while his counterpart throws out complex riffs and melodic breaks, as Williams also plays unusual percussion rhythms (stuff you'll never hear in Nevermore) and some overdubbed vocal melodies. It's an interesting mix to say the least.

I give props to Van Williams for going out of his way and trying something different. So many musicians just play out the same style of music in so-called solo/side projects. Though Pure Sweet Hell is far from being as challenging and powerful as Nevermore, it's a good listen, in the way you can hear the guy sing and write songs in a different medium.

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