Forget the clumsy name – there's nothing else clunky or half-formed about this band. As I'm sure you're aware MoE is comprised of three former Venom members, most importantly guitarist Mantas, (although bassist vocalist Tony 'The Demolition Man' Dolan and drummer Antton Lant are no less instrumental to this record it has to be said), though Lant has already moved on to concentrate on his Defcon One project, and, whilst there's a definite flavour of the mighty V about a lot of 'Hell To The Holy', it has to be said that this album deleted anything the mothership has created in, well, since Dolan and Mantas collaborated on 1989's 'Prime Evil' album to be honest.
'Hell To The Holy' is absolutely heavy as all hell, a scintillating mix of fast rhythms, dog barking madness on the vocal front from Dolan (as well as his characteristic cement-mixer-falling-down-some-stairs bass sound) and some utterly tremendous guitar playing (and who from us who saw Venom in the early eighties would ever have thought we'd be saying this?) from Mantas.
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Honestly some of his playing is eerily reminiscent of Priest's KK Downing (actually the almost direct quotes from 'Rapid Fire' and 'Painkiller' are the only bits that really sound like KK but you can grasp what I'm getting at. He's like a legit axe God now!).
The weak 'Snake Pit' aside, there is absolutely no flab anywhere at all to be found on this album. Actually, 'Snake Pit' even has its moments, but it sounds undeniably dated when placed up against the staggering material that fills out the rest of the album.
If its heaviness you're after, you just cannot go wrong. But, unlike most of the tosh masquerading as extreme music in 2012 you'll find actual songs beneath all the hammering and banging going on. Songs with real choruses despite weighing in like a bus load of day-tripping sumos on a 'lude binge, songs that have beginnings, middles and ends, usually in the right order.
When the band stop on a dime and chant "bang your head!" on the already-mentioned 'Snake Pit' (just before they do their Priest turn) you can't help but comply to their wishes, all the while throwing in some frenzied air guitar to accompany Mantas' frankly lunatic outpourings on the ol' six string. This is the good stuff, me lovelies, make no mistake...
There aren't many albums doing the rounds currently that make you want to go straight back to the start once they finish and do the whole dirty thing again, but 'Hell To The Holy' is one of them. No frills, no pissing about, no hype, no posing. Just evil, foetid HEAVY FUCKING METAL.
I guarantee you'll love every minute of it.
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