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Salem, Oregon-based black doom crushers HELL are swiftly rising from the depths. Disregarding stereotypical religious themes and instead focusing on a grieving, doom-ridden personal Hell, the band creates wildly imaginative atmospheric overtones and droning soundscapes over shattering doom metal. A ghastly ambiance is set thanks to conceptual album art compiled from the works of Gustave Dore.

The music of HELL is forefront to the project rather than imagery. In some of the longer songs such as Trucid or Decedere, intensely emotional clean reverby guitars play classical sounding dual leads to bring an immediate overcoming feeling of mourning. A tasteful mix of cello, viola, or flute is added to bring a truly archaic and prestigious sound. Soon enough all hopes are crushed by the insanely heavy guitars and drums. Bass guitar here is used unconventionally, keeping the overall beat. Soaring tremolo leads take over to seemingly reach out to the heavens, only for the listener to eventually be dragged down into the Hellish pits of sorrow and pain. In the end there is no resolve, only an immense feeling of loss and despair.

With that being said, that doesn’t mean Hell can’t have a good time. Shorter songs like Inscriptus, Brutus, and Sheol have plenty of evil headbanging party riffs and ridiculously violent vocals. It’s easy for Hell to craft the perfect set list for each different show. A wall of all-tube fender amps projects a perfect tone from the stage – not too loud or distorted, but instead dialed in for maximum resonance on the heavy parts and for a floating dreamy quality on the clean parts.