The rotten spirit of gnarly Swedish Death Metal has possessed many helpless victims ever since it began to haunt the bedrooms and practice spaces of young deadbeats in the Scandinavian provinces over 20 years ago. Countless souls have been reaped in order to spew forth this twisted vision of heavy metal and yet the dark forces behind these dark arts obviously aren’t sated, for “The Serpent’s Redemption” by Västerås natives Bombs of Hades could only be the work of those with a desire to make you bang your head for 40 minutes before tearing it from your aching neck and greedily draining the blood from the stump.
From the instant you hear the killer buzzsaw tone and belched vocals on ‘Crawl Away and Bleed Forever’, you know you’re in the region of hell you know and love so well. This could have come off a Grotesque demo from 1991 yet when you’re dealing with a sound as timeless as this, trivial things like dates become immaterial. ’Darkness My Soul’ has obviously spent some time travelling down the Left Hand Path that Entombed explored, with its pounding drums and serrated riffs wreaking havoc in a workmanlike yet thrillingly engaging manner. An extended acoustic intro provides a moment of breathing space before the Destroyer 666 indebted wild soloing and instructions to sell your soul of ‘Burn’ have you reaching for the bulletbelts and beers.
The title track slows the pace for a grim march through a latter-day Dismember haunted realm as crusty riffs crunch underfoot with each step you take. The desire to forge ahead is a strong one however and you are soon rewarded with the flawless D-Beat of ‘Forgotten in Graves’ which will have bodies slamming and hair whipping with vigour when played live. The same can be said of the lightspeed ‘Incubus Descending’ which maintains its sense of disgust even when breaking out into near-melodic guitar duelling as it reaches its climax. ‘Skull Collector’ offers zero variation in the formula except to demonstrate how many craniums can be crushed in less than three minutes. Final track ‘Scorched Earth’ begins with some seriously creepy organ tones before launching into a vicious death/thrash assault that dissolves into a wall of wailing feedback before crawling back to finish the job with something resembling one of The Devil’s Blood’s more metal moments.
A vast improvement on the hit-and-miss “Chambers of Abomination”, the time spent worshipping at the altars of their forbears has done Bombs of Hades a world of good, and they deserve to have their ghoulish death metal din heard around the world. Sweden may suck at furniture but it does death metal to perfection and Bombs of Hades are living proof.