Well, people know there were Venom, Motorhead, Angel Witch, Mercyful Fate , but serious thrash and death began when these 3 excited Venomaniacs from Switzerland started Hellhammer with (in a way) a punk spirit (do it yourself way of life). It wasn’t perfect, but the ugliness and raw side of their heavy metal, in a way, opened the gate to death metal and also the second wave of black metal. If you want to understand Obituary, Possessed, early Mayhem, Necrophagia, Morbid Angel and so on, start here with this cult release!!!!!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Finally! This seminal band, Made up of Tom Warrior, Martin Ain, and Bruce Day, are back in release after a long stretch on moratorium. What can I say? This music is designed to get your blood flowing, your heart racing, and your mind full of unsavory thoughts. The band (with the hokey monikers Satanic Slaughter, Slayed Necros, and Denial Fiend) blazes through these 6 songs like 3 men possessed by demons. Hellhammer were one of the first of the death/thrash bands, and their image and attitude helped to shape that of black metal in the late `80’s and `90’s. Give a listen to DarkThrone, Mayhem, or the first Emperor demos and you’ll definitely hear Hellhammer’s influence.If you’re a fan of metal or just curious about it, pick this one up. You won’t be sorry.
I gave this album 5 stars because it really is a classic. Obviously it is not million-dollar production – no early 1980’s metal was (not even Mettalica’s “Kill ‘em all”). And it may be difficult for people to appreciate now, but at the time it was released it was an incredibly bold and assertive vision, and it truly gives an idea of the types of music that eventually formed what we now recognize as pure and classic thrash metal. Here Warrior and Ain show the seed of creative vision that eveitually led to Celtic Frost. For me, the album culminates in the heart-stopping Triumph of Death – a “ballad” that I still enjoy playing for the neighbors upon occasion.
Behold Tom G. Warrior’s excellent beginning into the metal world.Apocalyptic Raids is full of simple but effective guitar riffs,Tom’s angry demon vocals,and most of all the awesome dungeon atmosphere this album permeates.This sounds relatively tame next to bands like Anaal Nathrakh etc…but in its day it was the heaviest stuff around.The silly satanic imagery provides a definite comic element to Hellhammer,just as it did with Venom and Bathory.The music is generally fast, but sometimes slows down into an almost doom tempo for variety,which sounds great.Songs like “Messiah”,”Massacra”,and “Horus/Agressor” are brutal,primitive thrash metal at its best.Highly recommended to those who want to seek the roots of extreme metal.
First thing’s first: Forget a second about labels like “metal,” “punk,” “thrash,” and “hardcore,” because this release has a lot of things in common with all of them.
There really is a continuum of bands, from “Overkill”-era MOTORHEAD, to pre-1986 DISCHARGE, to AMEBIX, on through VENOM [1st two albums], Finland’s BASTARDS and RIISTETYT, and maybe even including the first MINOR THREAT 7″ EP, that this release could easily fit into. It’s simple, raw, primitive, buzzsaw guitar thrash. Anyone who likes any of the bands I just mentioned would like this.
Having said that, HELLHAMER’s “Apocalyptic Raids” is squarely more on the VENOM, MAYHEM, and NWOBHM side of the fence than anywhere else [if only because that's where they themselves chose to be!]. Though sonically I find a lot in common with hardcore punk a la DISCHARGE, lyrically and atmospherically there’s some evil Satanic stuff going on here, lending it a “dark Satanic” feel [again, like earliest VENOM] instead of a “society is f—–” sort of darkness embodied by DISCHARGE-ian d-beat bands.
Folks into modern crustcore and d-beat — you know, bands like [early] NEUROSIS, RORSCHACH, MISERY, WARCRY, INEPSY, SEVERED HEAD OF STATE — would surely like this. In fact, there is a vibe on this release that reminds me more of that sort of thing than of modern death metal, which has grown extremely technical and nowadays incorporates vocal styles that are a bit different from what HELLHAMMER have to offer here. Yet HELLHAMMER are still one of the granddads of death metal, its members having gone on to CELTIC FROST.
Some reviews have remarked that the songs are horrible, the guitar playing is bad, and that sort of thing. Compared to what, though? Compared to any of the bands I mentioned above [VENOM's 1st album, early DISCHARGE], the musicianship is right on par: crunchy bar chords sliding up and down the fret board, few if any solos, no intricate noodling — sheer, blunt impact. The songs are simple, but in my book that’s a bonus. It’s hard-charged, over the top rock and roll. There’s not any slick over-production; in that sense, it’s a lot like early BLACK FLAG or early DC hardcore like DEADLINE. One lone guitar turned all the way up, with a really mean and dirty sound, galloping along to a rapid-fire drum pattern, with gruff VENOM-esque vocals. I like it!
Songs like “Horus/Agressor” and “Messiah” are some of the best 80’s thrash songs around.