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(Black Speed) HELLRIPPER - The Affair of the Poisons album review

Release date October 9, 2020 (Peaceville Records)

The Affair of the Poisons is the second full-length release by Scottish one-man band Hellripper.  Main man (and sole member) James McBain has put together a rip-snorting thrash release here with intensity and speed being the order of the day in all 8 songs, spanning nearly half an hour. 

There are no weak songs in this collection, as they all kick ass with their speed and power. The writing is strong and the individual tracks are memorable and discernible.  Highlights include "Spectres of the Blood Moon Sabbath" and "Hexennacht", both of which have a toe-tapping underlying rock'n'roll vibe that would be at home on any early Venom album.

Other highlights are "Beyond the Convent Walls" and "Vampire Grave" which have riffs as fast as any band out there, but still manage to remain catchy.  And that is the main strength of this album, you can actually remember each track when the mayhem subsides.

However, the one weakness herein is McBain's use of the tired, uninspired black metal vocal cackle.  Why do so many extreme metal bands think that using uniform and mundane vocals that sound like every other black or death band is a good thing?  When did conformity and lack of variety become a virtue in metal?  If McBain could try something original next album....like maybe use his actual voice when singing....then Hellripper may really become a force to be reckoned with. (7.5)




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