It seems as though Sweden has an extreme metal band manufacturing lab dedicated to genetically engineering great musicians located somewhere in the heart of Stockholm. It’s hard to even imagine so many talented musicians living in a country not much bigger than California. Because Sweden is almost magically metal with its frigid temperatures and overall bleakness, it’s not hard to understand why some of the greatest death metal bands like Unleashed, Entombed, and Grave all hail from this bitterly cold Scandinavian country. It’s time to add one more band to the Swedish death hall of fame.
Bombs of Hades can’t exactly be described as new with a career spanning over ten years but the band really started making waves back 2012 with the release of The Serpent’s Redemption. Catchy, primitive, and gritty are three adjectives that can describe the feel of the band’s 2012 release and thankfully, their sound on Death Mask Replica doesn’t deviate much from this.
What makes Death Mask Replica such an exciting release is that, in true Bombs of Hades fashion, the album is stripped down. You won’t find a lick of trendy, experimental sounding, overly noisy, or shoegaze-y bullshit on this album. Death Mask Replica is a straight up death metal record with elements of rock and roll. One is easily reminded of mid era Entombed when listening to the album but there’s also an undeniable Motorhead influence as well as remnants of Venom style, early black/thrash. The album is a perfect amalgamation of crudeness and groove.
Bombs of Hades kick starts the album with title track, Death Mask Replica, in true, classic metal fashion, complete with guitar licks your dad would love and death growl vocals that are palatable and clear. The album continues on this path until track five, entitled Burning Angel, which starts out as a bit of a snooze but if you’re patient enough, you’re in for a treat on this track. About four and half minutes into the track the atmosphere changes and the song progresses into a haunting string section that exemplifies the melodicism Sweden is so famous for.
Unfortunately, at times the band relies a little too heavily on used up riff progressions and a few of the tracks, such as When the Reaper Comes, Tombsday, and Old Fires Die, are less than memorable. Thankfully, it doesn’t keep that pace for long. On Pillars of Madness, the title track, and The Venom all slay. This is definitely one of those albums to skip around with. The faster, thrashier tracks far surpass the slower ones. The clear, unmuted sound of the guitar and the standard D tuning is a definite stand out feature on this album. I highly recommend giving this album a listen. Despite the fact that not every song is particularly memorable, the ones that are make purchasing Death Mask Replica worth it.