Thrash metal is, arguably, one of the most important subgenres in modern metal history. Sure, thrash wasn’t the start of our beloved genre, but it was one of the first metal subgenres to take huge influence from a genre outside of itself (hardcore punk) and with enough ferocity and inspiration to not only keep it going strong to this day, but to also branch out and experiment. Without thrash’s influence, death and black metal would, obviously, be nonexistent. And to picture the modern metal scene without the latter subgenres is simply impossible. That’s why I’m always glad when I hear a band that throws back to old school thrash roots, where it was almost synonymous with hardcore punk. Hellcome is a thrash metal band out of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, who released their self-titled debut this past Saturday (March 5) for free.
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Kryvyi Rih, economically, is known for its steel industry, and, strangely enough, you can hear that in Hellcome’s music. The somewhat lo-fi production adds a sharp rusty edge to the guitars, almost throwing it in the valley of crust punk.
But it’d be inaccurate to really box Hellcome into a certain genre of thrash or punk. It’s more as if they have taken what thrash has already done and melted it all together until no single genre is recognizable. The speedy riffs the guitars employ remind me of something that Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica or pre-Chaos A.D. Sepultura would play, yet the vocals sound more punk-based, as if Joey Belladonna had dropped in to record with the band. There are a few gang shouts, straight out of the hardcore punk handbook, but then we’re greeted with interesting little left turns, like the solo of “Cbet” (which roughly translates to “Light” in Russian) that sounds almost like melodic death metal. (One could say Hellcome is “thrashcore,” but considering the dirtiness of the guitars and the general production, it doesn’t even seem to fit in that vein well.)
While I can’t say I know how to speak Russian—and therefore don’t really understand the lyrics or the track titles—I enjoyed listening to this immensely. To paraphrase perhaps the most un-metal TV show on earth, Spongebob Squarepants, listening to Hellcome is like eating a bowl of nails for breakfast without any milk.