Welcome To Hellknife by HELLKNIFE
Galloping riffs of terror!! Spiteful vocals constructed of anger & razor blades!! Volcanic eruption of drums exploding at the mercy of no man dead or alive!! All at a speed unknown to even the demon souls soaring amongst the vomitious infernos of the underword.. alas, THRASH IS BACK!! And this time… it has a knife. A HELLKNIFE! Here to resurrect good ‘ol fashioned, fast & pissed, unforgiving & blasphemous, drunk & rowdy, American Thrash Metal is HELLKNIFE. With their debut EP Welcome to Hellknife, graciously descended upon the human race pulls no punches and certainly spare no lives. So, my dead friends, lace up the boots, spill the blood, grab your barbells, and prepare for 5 songs and 15 minutes of unrelenting high energy via the knives of hell. And as fate and history would have it, and as they so those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, HELLKNIFE is no longer. Say, WHAT!? You’re reviewing and praising a band that does not exist any longer? Yes, yes I am. BECAUSE, for one, I love the dead. And second, like a good history lesson, this deserves recognition. Unearthed from the bones and dust of time and given its first proper release in the glorious lo-fi cassette form (!!) Via the cool humans over a Reaper Metal Productions, you would be gravely mistaken not to check this out.
The classic bits of American thrash metal are very likely my first love for metal music, as I can bet most of you started there too. With the obvious likes of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, Morbid Saint, etc… is where I stared to earn my metal stripes back as a wee little pre-teen full of angst, hatred, and pizza dough.. and, uh, not much as changed. It may be a cliche, but I still remember the first time I listened to Reign In Blood, Kill ‘Em All, Rust In Peace, you name it, they changed my life and the way I looked at not just metal music, but music in general. Those undeniable massively important records and bands paved the way for the extreme metal we know and love today.. just think of how many black metal and death metal bands there wouldn’t be today without Slayer? That’s a world you can count me OUT of. Now, admittedly, those bands and records are far from my favorite nowadays, but the intense passion spewing out propane in my blood is always there, and old school thrash metal is the deceiving and teasing flame dancing in the shadows… waiting to send my soul into instantaneous flames. Shout out to Soul On Fire by Glenn D. Thrash metal is the OG “extreme metal” and lasting the ultimately unforgiving test of time through many stages, iterations, imitations, cross-overs, you name it.. thrash metal has been through it. But, those bands all stay as strong today as they did then (at least 90% anyway) and those classic records still hold up (quite FUCKING WELL, I must say) to any metal that has come forth today. You can hear the influences in the blood and riffs of any new metal coming after it, wether they are consciously aware of it or not. For this reason, it is easy to dismiss “new” thrash bands as jaded interpretations of the godfathers of metal. For me, a few slipped through the cracks.. Skeletonwitch was one. Toxic Holocaust. Power Trip. And now, HELLKNIFE can be added that unholy roster. If only they were still a band.. but in a cryptic way, the way we like it, makes it all the much cooler. And I hope they get back to the punches and slashes.
Maybe I was a bit too quick to label them as pure American thrash, as that would invoke an idea of them sounding exactly like Testament or something. Truth is, they are something a little more badass than the latter, they are definitely blackened thrash metal. Wishing early Skeletonwitch was still around? Welcome To Hellknife. Here’s you savior dressed to the nines in classic thrash riffs and devil-approved leather. Now, with only 5, relatively short songs, it may be hard to capture an entire vibe of a band; but this ones pretty damn straight forward.. as a knife’s blade. It’s fast and angry blackened thrash metal that sounds like it was recorded in Hell in the mid 80’s. It actually makes perfect sense that they’re from Texas, now that I made that comparison. The birthplace of the band that said mainstream heavy metal in the 90’s, Pantera, Texas has become a breeding ground for not only interesting old school metal bands, but just music in general. Coincidentally, Power Trip also hails from the greatest country in America. Must be something in the steaks down there. There is definitely a flavor and uniqueness to the quality of metal down there in the chainsaw massacre lands, much like the heavy metal roasting of flesh and barbecue they provide. There is an undeniable speed, rawness, and most importantly, authenticity to not only HELLKNIFE, but “Texas metal” bands in general. But, we are here to discuss, play on Venom, Welcome To Hellknife. If the obvious old school thrash and black metal influences were not prevalent enough, just wait till you dig into this beast. “Blood Of The Snake” opens a gate to hell with its unrelenting ferocity in riffs and thunderous thrash from beginning to end. The epic war cry-like chanting of the chorus and hellish lyrics on top of ripping solos and violent true thrash metal make this my favorite song on the EP, but that’s not to say it’s all downhill. “Blackest Night” keeps the dead walking with pure energy and darkness, channeling some true Destroyer 666 vibes of black; complete with the sweetest of a melodic guitar bridge section. Definitely not trying to be anything they aren’t, “Hellbanger Holocaust” comes in with more ferocity and infectiously catchy thrash constructed in the worlds below. I mean, the title alone is brilliant. This will leave you banging your head and chanting HELL BANGER HOLO CAUST to yourself for the rest of the day, and I swear it’s a good thing. Lots of death metal vibes are coming out in this one too, starting off with way more of a “chuggier” pace than is predecessors, only picking up the adrenaline fueling and testosterone boosting intensity halfway through, making it all the more more effective in my opinion… and just wait for the epic Slayer-worth breakdown at the end. Keeping you cardiovascular system in check with “Wolfcharge”, it sounds exactly like you thing it does. Fast as fuck, no shortage of snare drum, thundering bass, and grimly spiteful vocals of werewolves themselves. And the all too soon conclusion of Die By The Knife is an awesome traditional trash song and a perfect way to send the record off back to the graveyard.
In conclusion, the short review and shorter EP leaves us begging for more. And that, in essence, is the point of this review. Lets get the classic tase metal train back rolling.. because with bands like this, there’s no denying its relevancy and our need for it.
Gym Rating: 5/5
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