Originally known as In Cold Blood, Sweden's Raise Hell released three albums for Nuclear Blast between 1998-2002 that revealed hints of black metal combined with elements of both thrash and death metal. Now Metal Mind Productions out of Poland has seen fit to roll out the red carpet for the band by re-mastering these three albums, including their debut Holy Target, in their standard limited edition digipak and gold disc format.
Clocking in at a respectable forty minutes Holy Target which was tracked by Tommy and Peter Tagtgren has both musically and visually all the makings of an old school classic. While not entirely rooted in black metal, the album does have strong anti Christian themes lyrically, while the back cover reveals four shirtless long haired lads, covered in dripping red paint, clad in only black leather pants with bullet belts and studded arm bands. Talk about a throw back!
Consisting of Jonas Nilsson (guitars, vocals), Dennis Ekdahl (drums), Niklas Sjostrom (bass) and Torstein Wickberg (guitars), the quartet stick to basically the same formula over the course of the nine tracks on this disc. So expect plenty of blast beats executed at absolutely breakneck speed, sneering vocals that are full of venom and a dual axe attack that fires off a plethora of equally as fast, razor sharp riffage with a dazzling amount of precision. There are a few notable stand-out tracks on this mid range sounding slab of unrelenting mayhem, namely the title track, "Raise The Devil" and the seven minute plus closer "Superior Powers". However, that being said while not denying the fantastic amount of youthful energy and brief moments of musical fireworks, too much of Holy Target sounds the same. After playing it through more than a couple of times, one can easily hear reoccurring themes and even the same riffs rehashed from song to song. There is almost no variety as far as tempos go, which I think might have gone a long way in terms of helping distinguish each track from the next, not to mention giving each song it's own unique identity.
Too much of Holy Target ends up sounding redundant for reasons mentioned above and it's one of those CD's you'll play a few times and then file it away, probably for good. Not a terrible debut for these Swedish bangers, especially when compared to their sophomoric follow up Not Dead Yet album, which saw the group do a bit of an about face both musically and lyricall, and not for the better.
1) The March Of Devil's Soldiers
2) Raise The Devil
3) Beautiful As Fire
4) Holy Target
5) Legions Of Creeps
6) The Red Ripper
7) Black Visions
8) Mattered Out
9) Superior Powers