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Memoriam | ‘The Hellfire Demos II’

With the recent departure of Bolt Thrower from active musical service, Karl Willetts and Andy Whale have found a new outlook for their death metal tastes in Memoriam.

With Sacrilege bassist Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax (formerly of Benediction) filling out the line up, it was clear that Memoriam were going to be a brutal proposition on the live circuit (and reviews of these shows have agreed).

Having released one 7′ of demos last year to good reviews, the band have now signed to Nuclear Blast for a full album. Before that, they’ve given us another 7′.

‘Drone Strike’ (which will be exclusive to this 7′) is a suitably crunchy, midpaced death metal number which has elements of ‘Mercenary’ era Bolt Thrower in there (no bad thing of course). Whale really delivers on the drums, while Fairfax’s riffs are juicy, clinical and in the finest tradition of death metal.

The lack of a solo means there is no relief from the remorseless riffage, but the change to a more climbing riff towards the end offers the listener some respite, although the end is rather abrupt. It lasts five minutes and you want to hear more.

‘Surrounded (By Death)’ will be appearing on the album. It features a similar riff, but a bit more in the way of pinch harmonics. It starts off at a more midtempo pace, before speeding up in the middle, sounding like the tape got stuck and then going back to midtempo. Karl’s vocals are much more grittier on this one, and you gotta love the solo on this one. Short, succinct and proper Slayer/Repulsion worship.

The album will give the listener much more to work with. For now, this is a great 7′ which doesn’t disgrace the band and serves as a decent appetiser for the LP. ‘Surrounded (By Death)’ gets the nod as the better song.

Bolt Thrower are dead. Long live Memoriam.

-Christopher Owens ::: 06/01/16

N.B: the studio version was unavailable online at the time of writing.

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