Do you like the zero-fluff, get on your knees and pray leanings of European metallic hardcore? Something told me you might, given how bands like Kickback and Congress are all the rage again. Rightfully so, given the scorched path these bands burned into the earth from France to Belgium some twenty years ago. They left their mark, to put it succinctly.
Fast forward to now, up to and including the last few years, where bands have been mining the creative gems left by European metallic hardcore and American metalcore bands as recently as a decade ago. This was the stuff that I, and anyone in the late 20s raised our heavier tastes on, and the output by many of these younger bands rivals their forebears. Arizona’s Hellhook is a bit of both worlds: European metallic hardcore’s bare bones hostility and US metalcore’s grand experimentation.
On their unapologetic debut, No Retreat, this desert-bound quintet pulls no punches, opening their five-song killing spree with an escalating mosh frenzy. “Cheated Death,” today’s jaw-breaking slice, is all meaty riffs packaged with a bit of Dwid Hellion styled inferno-flecked vocals. The guitars surge like waves of artillery, wavering from rapid fire chugs to nuclear breakdowns. The cymbals click like bullets being loaded into a clip, while the snare unleashes them in fatally precise bursts. The bass lurks beneath it all like a predatory land mine, exploding in the most interesting places, its sinister purr undercutting the larger formation. Fun thing is, this is only second track on No Retreat, and the rest is just as bloodthirsty good as “Cheated Death.”