In this wondrous age of technology and the internet, sometimes you just happen to stumble upon something with no explanations. So one day, I decided to scan Youtube for some videos and songs, and just happened to have a suggestion on the sidepanel for the band Hellsword and their song “Evil’s Rebirth.” It was a promising band name, and a promising song title, so I decided to give it a listen. It was in this moment, explained by what I can only assume was Satan’s magic, that my ears were blessed with the glorious sound that is Hellsword. It’s a unique mixture of thrash with an obvious Bathory influence that sent a shiver right up my spine, and I replayed the track three times in a row before I could process it fully.
But therein would lie the whole problem of getting my hands on this recording to play over and over again; in the car, on my mp3 player, grocery shopping, etc. So I did some internet searching and came upon the band’s page on Metal Archives and found out that their demo, “Blasphemy Unchained,” is set to be released on March 23, via Haliaetum Records, with a new cover, a new track, and a cover of Venom’s “Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil).”
Hellsword are certainly hard to classify, as their style exhibits a number of obvious influences. “As we started with our own Hellsword material,” says bassist/vocalist Mike Manslaughter, “we wanted to sound as Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer or Celtic Frost did, but now, in my opinion, we are making songs which sound great to us, no matter to which band they are similar. We have a lot of black metal influence, old school ripping speed metal, but also a lot of thrash influences, and especially ancient death metal like Nunslaughter or Possessed. I never considered us a thrash metal band, but in the end, the music is important, not the genres. I always considered us a black/speed metal outfit.”
“’Blasphemy Unchained’ was first released some day in May 2011,” says Manslaughter. “We made only 66 copies, all hand numbered, and are really fucking rare. Some of them finished somewhere in Japan, one is somewhere in Russia, but most of them are in Slovenia of course.”
Formed in November of 2009, Hellsword arose from the dissatisfaction that Mike Manslaughter and drummer Mark Massakre had with their previous band. Aiming for “something agressive with a lot of speed and dark evil vibe,” Hellsword’s line-up was completed with the addition of guitarist Ironfist, a school-friend of Mark’s. “The hellish lineup was completed and soon started to create tunes of death, destruction and evil,” says Manslaughter.
In this writer’s opinion, some of the best bands come from the most obscure of places, and Hellsword’s location of Slovenia only further adds to my conviction. “Our scene mostly consists of the thrash revival scene, a lot of mediocre heavy metal, generic death metal and boring power ‘metal.’ But still we have some really good bands with a lot of potential.” But still, Manslaughter’s aim for Hellsword goes beyond the borders of Slovenia, “We surely hope to play abroad as soon as possible, because not many people really get us here.”
“The Slovene metal scene atmosphere is so inert. No band makes much of a progress. They mostly just stagnate,” continues Manslaughter, “that’s why bands have less and less people who really listen to them. We want to change that. We want to bring our music to the people who love old-school ripping metal and enjoy listening to it. Listening to metal is not just being part of the scene, but to feel the metal music and enjoy it.”
No writer could have summed that up better!
Be on the lookout for Hellsword’s forthcoming release “Blasphemy Unchained” on Haliaetum Records, as well as a thorough review of this release on Zero Tolerance. “Hail Satan, Hail death!”
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