Hell United - _Aura Damage_
(Hellthrasher Productions, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Poland has more than convinced me it is a fertile ground for some of today's finest death metal outputs. Pagan Records and now this small label, Hellthrasher Productions, have both been releasing some incredibly potent and strong albums by some of the genre's most proficient bands, mostly in the darkest regions of the black/death spectrum. Half of Hell United's line-up consists of a couple of Stillborn members, yet another curious Polish death/black metal outfit, whose 2007 long-player _Manifiesto de Blasfemia_ was among the very best that year yielded, and a hell of an exciting album.

For some reason, Hell United's debut album _HornoKracy_, dated to 2008, has left this writer with a lukewarm impression. However, the band's sophomore, on the other hand, recorded in the last trimester of 2012, is a highly addictive, ferocious and contagious slab of ultra-fast, beautiful, dark, mephitic death metal, heavy on doom-like maneuvers and atmospheric as fuck.

Not unlike its contemporary equivalent country-mate, namely Embrional's excellent _Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors_, or even Stillborn's aforementioned _Manifiesto de Blasfemia_, the lightning fast pace of the music does not damage the ambiance created by the dirty guitars and the riffs they play. The multiple blastbeat outbursts, unlike these attacks typical to the playing technique and patterns used by grindcore bands for instance, where the blastbeats often appear out of context, in the case of Hell United's _Aura Damage_ they play a major part in the mood setting methodology of the whole album; this very ferocious and rapid hammering lends the music an extra dimension, more depth and infuses it with violence and terror.

There are a lot of death metal albums out there, but few stand out and deliver something unique and provocative, marking the listener with an undeniable impression, and beyond. _Aura Damage_ is such an album, where the songwriting level, the heaviness and the depraved atmosphere, all converge into a point where this album serves more than a mere musical output, but also as a tool of transcendence.

More brutal than your habitual brutal death metal offerings, more vital than heavy metal's cosy, if not stagnant, status quo, more viral than black metal's aesthetics, and definitely more abrasive and doom-permeated than most of today's doom metal recordings, _Aura Damage_ is vitriol made flesh; a recording that serves both as a mind-fuck and as an earth-bound weapon against the mainstream and all of the niceties it represents. By escaping the genre's clich├ęs and confining stylistic walls, Hell United offer an interpretation of their own for the concept of beauty found within utter ugliness; bliss found in violence, and order spawned out of chaos.

_Aura Damage_ is one of the few and select voices of the death metal underground; even those who have heard it all will still be impressed and unable to deny the impact of this sonic beast.

Contact: http://www.hellthrasher.com

(article published 2/3/2013)

7/13/2008 C Drishner 6.5 Hell United - HornoKracy
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