viernes, abril 17, 2009

Hell comes with Martin Walkyier and Andy Sneap

Hell was a UK heavy metal band formed in 1982. They became part of that movement NWOBHM of young bands that were playing heavy metal on the United Kingdom, though maybe remained as one of the less known ones instead of the famous Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest, Raven, Grim Reaper, Diamond Head, Def Leppard...

Hell signed to the Belgian label Mausoleum, but two weeks prior to the recording of the album, the label collapsed. This led to the split-up of the band, and the suicide of the vocalist and guitar leader Dave Halliday in 1987 by carbon monoxide poisoning.
They just had released some few demos till the fateful date and since that time the band remained as forgotten.

But it was this last 2008 when Kev Bower and the other 2 surviving members decided to reunite the band and work in a new reborn and new release.

He offered to play and produce their new album to the master and legendary Andy Sneap - producer and mixer of over 100 metal albums, including Megadeth, Trivium, Kreator, Testament, Killswitch Engage, Opeth, Exodus, Cradle of Filth....-
Dave Halliday taught Andy Sneap to play guitar and Sneap mentions (funny when Andy shows his gun at the end of the video... and uhmm those cows behind.. XDD)Hell as one of his main influences when he formed the cult band Sabbath. Sneap tells he was usually in the first row of every concert Hell played and in fact they met in one concert.

The other one that offered the position of singer was the former singer of Sabbath as well, Martin Walkyier, who after leaving Skyclad many years ago tried with Iscariah from Immortal a new band doing a new style: The Clan Destined.
The Clan Destined - A Beautiful Start to the End of the World

But seems it hadnt enough repercussion in the metal scene and the band is quite on hold -though I think they play much more interesting music than others nowadays-.
Right now he is making tours around Brazil with Tuatha De Dannan and in Argentina with Skiltron doing cover songs from the Skyclad era.
Previously he "did for fun" some concerts with Sneap recalling the splendid times of Sabbat when "History of a Time to Come" and "Dreamweaver".
After hearing the offer, Martin didn't think for a while and joined the project of Hell, a band that inspired him strongly as well when forming Sabbath -one of my favourite Thrash Metal bands of all times except that "Mourning has Broken"-.
Sabbath - The Clerical Conspiracy (Live 1990)

So this way, the new Hell is reborn, already with a complete album, which will be supposed to have a great sound provided by the experience of one of the most recognized producers in the metal world and the charismatic voice of the cult Thrash Metal band Sabbat and the pioneers of the Folk Metal, Skyclad.

Seems they will re-make old songs from demos to turn them into a "new metal millenium sound".
The album is already finished and I am quite expectant about what will come from this reunion, it will be one of the most interesting things to happen in 2009 for sure.
In Kev Bower's words, this is the tracklist of the upcoming Hell CD, "Human Remains":

This began life as a rocking instrumental which originally appeared as the B-side of HELL's self-financed and now extremely rare 1983 7" vinyl single – subsequently bootlegged, but with the original now selling for absolutely ludicrous money on Ebay. For the introduction to this album, I have taken some of the principal themes and orchestrated them in full-on Wagner 'Sturm und Drang' style, but since the London Symphony Orchestra and the Kings College Choir were both sadly unavailable to me, I have put this together using a Motif XS digital sampling workstation synthesizer instead – undreamed-of technology back in the day.

This became HELL's show-opener towards the culmination of the band's previous existence. The intro section is strangely notable for having been written by Tony Speakman whilst he was sat playing his bass on the toilet (bog metal?) with the remainder consisting of typically 'agent provocateur' lyrics over slabs of furious riffing. Live performances of this would always see Dave abandoning his guitar leaving just me to play it as a one-guitar song, whilst he adopted his nutcase front-man persona, donning a full vicar's garb complete with our now-infamous pyrotechnic exploding bible. This caused outrage amongst the local clergy at the time - it was literally front-page headline stuff in the local papers…..

A true moment of inspiration, written about the Bubonic Plague and the Great Fire of London. This song was once again a single guitar piece, with Dave lurching round the stage, enveloped in smoke, dressed in a hooded cloak ringing a plague caller's handbell. The new intro features a chilling 1665 'Black Death' soundscape - again put together on the Motif XS digital sampler – but which amazingly features Dave's voice, which Andy Sneap has somehow managed to lift and reprocess from a 25-year-old live gig cassette-tape recording. The song is historically significant, as it was the penultimate one Dave and I ever wrote as a HELL composition. The last-ever song itself, 'Guilty As Charged', wasn't included on this album as only a very rough, almost inaudible rehearsal tape remains in existence, and no-one could remember how to play it……

A bludgeoning adaptation of a Race Against Time song which was a hugely popular feature of the HELL set for many years. If you're a SABBAT fan and the exit riff on this song sounds strangely familiar, it's probably because they elected to pay homage to HELL in the nicest possible way – by 'borrowing' the riff and using an ever-so-slightly modified version of it in 'The Church Bizarre' on their debut 'History Of A Time To Come' album. They later admitted the heinous theft under intense interrogation. Ask Mr.Sneap about this, and you'll be greeted with a sheepish grin. The rest of the album was all their own work, though…………Honest.

If you visit the HELL fan MySpace page, you'll hear an rough-mixed sneak preview of part of this..........
A great favourite of both fans and band alike, and a dire warning about the consequences of selling your soul to the wrong deity..……. The intro and outro of this song are based around haunting sets of synthesizer drones which were my first foray into keyboards back in the day – using a vintage Moog analogue machine which would drift hopelessly out of tune mid-way through the set as it warmed up under the lighting rig, and with the Latin chant in the middle section now beefed up with Gregorian choirs and a massive digitally sampled church organ. The objective was to use synthesizers in an additive and hard-edged way, creating shades of musical light and dark, rather than just marshmallowing the whole thing out. I think I succeeded.

This song was the A-side of the previously-referred-to 7" single on HELL's own 'Deadly Weapon' label. The original was recorded in one live take in a studio which was essentially the living room of someone's tiny terraced house, up a back street in Kingston-Upon-Hull, using very quiet guitars and Tim's drum kit muffled out with a quilt and pillows from the studio owner's bed. Unsurprisingly, it didn't exactly capture the raw guts of the band's live performance, and it suffered from an achingly soft production. This 2008 version is how it was supposed to have sounded……

A musical and lyrical epic, and a song which shows how I was becoming ever more adventurous with synthesizers during the latter days of Hell's first coming. Much HELL material would see me playing either guitar or keyboards individually, but the complexity of this one meant that in the middle section, both were needed at the same time, so some of the keyboard parts were fed in automatically using a sequencer – a kind of digital memory box which I had programmed up to play these parts for me. This had to be synchronised to a 'beep' metronome, so that Tim could play along in time with this gadget, using a click-track relayed to him onstage through headphones. Every live performance of this song was a knife-edged technical nightmare, but we somehow always got away with it. I have once again written a brand-new intro for this song - featuring the amazing voice of Dani from Cradle of Filth.

Straightforward, heads-down, foot-on-the-monitors boogie courtesy of Tony and Tim. When it first surfaced, two members of the band (who shall remain nameless) were very reluctant to play it because it was 'too happy' and was deemed to be structurally, lyrically and musically 'too simple'. But - the fans absolutely loved it, and it went on to hold the distinction of being one of a tiny number of songs which remained firmly entrenched in the HELL set from the very first gig through to the very last. Just goes to prove that variety is indeed the spice of life……

Whilst most young men were reading car magazines (and other subject matter), Dave was reading Shakespeare, and the 'Scottish Play' was his favourite. The song bravely attempts to précis the guts of the story into a few simple lines and was again a huge favourite with the fans, due in part to the cauldron-stirring, three-witches theatrical antics which accompanied the live performance of this. This version is re-worked for 2008, but remains totally true in spirit to the original.

This song opened the show from the very beginning of HELL's previous existence almost until the end, when it was finally replaced by 'On Earth As It Is In Hell', done again with my single guitar part and Dave performing an intense, lunatic front-man show. Although the song was already fairly quick, the lethal combination of pre-show nerves (no beta-blockers back then……..) coupled with immense adrenaline, a baying crowd, Dave's 'anything-goes' antics and our collective over-abundance of youthful testosterone, meant that it was usually played at breakneck speed, with somewhat unpredictable and sometimes amusing results. It would also feature the unleashing of massive quantities of fire and pyrotechnics, which generated so much smoke in smaller venues that the band were usually rendered totally invisible to the audience for at least the first ten minutes of the gig……..

A massive slab of dark heaviness with a distinctly mystic-East feel, created using a recycled Halliday verse riff added to a bunch of my new ones, a new arrangement, and new lyrics which have been still further updated for 2008, and which now attempt to convey the obscenity of enforced prostitution from the girl's point of view. This song is also historically significant, but in direct contrast to 'Plague and Fyre' which was almost the last song, this was the first-ever HELL composition, written by myself and Dave at his mother's house one evening, just a few days after the band had formed. We didn't play it live as often as we should have done, and it was, for reasons now shrouded in the mists of time, dropped from the set after just a few months. This song is our sole concession to the modern phenomenon of drop-tuning, and it's played in D.

Source: Hell Myspace

Hell - Death Squad (1983)

Now I know where Immortal took inspiration for their famous clip... XD
Anyway, I find their music amazingly interesting, I'm sure they will make a great release.