Hellkult - _The Collection_
(Blood Fire Death / Regimental Records, 2004)
by: T. DePalma (5 out of 10)
Because the booklet of this release contains no information on the band, its origins, recording dates, etc., a little more detailed introduction seems in order. Hellkult was the original moniker of the black metal project that later grew into Wyrd, and features members of Azaghal and folk metal group Hin Onde. Between 1997 and 1999 Hellkult released three demos which are all compiled onto this CD: _The Christian Holocaust_, _Hail War_, and _Of Pure Heathen Blood_. Unfortunately any online listings one could comb regarding this discography are also incomplete, leaving at least one song on this collection unplaceable between the first two demos.

The audio quality on most of these tracks is wretched; a body of melodies raped by such complete distortion that some tracks sound as though they're playing backwards. Simplistic, slightly punkish riffs make up the bile churned out as the guitar and drums jog through the first ten tracks, highlighted by the grimly parading "Summoning of Elder Gods"; the eery, Darkthrone influenced "Satanic War" that actually pops up on Azaghal's _Mustamaa_ album; and the less straining "Chambers of Poisoned Sleep" (featuring a somewhat agitating flute/recorder and re-recorded as "Gods of the Storm). The sound here is literally fighting below a ceiling of age and crust. Fortunately as the album progresses the tracks move past pure curiosity and shed the completely warping dungeon/bedroom quality of the first half. The final demo _Of Pure Heathen Blood_ reflects the band's continued interest in black metal infused with folk tunes, but also mixes in more rudimentary speed/death metal riffs ("Der Sieg Ist Unser", "Winterkrieg"). It's easier from this point on to hear the similarities between this material and Azaghal besides rerecorded songs; the improved sound (not much better or worse than Azaghal's own debut) giving a clearer frame of the timbre within often neuralgic riffs that can still bloom into warm, melodic charges.

A more "official" style release (liner notes, dates) would have suited this material better for completists, and though it is not altogether listenable this release remains an interesting chronicle of exuberant extremism still active today.

Contact: http://www.regimentalrecords.com

(article published 3/9/2004)

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