Insane – Hollow Death

The Cover?

It reminds me a lot of the tape-trading cover-art that you can find on the internet and also can find at collectors that have a bunch of old school thrash-gems in their bin. Supposedly a very raw and sketched out art, almost to the brink of it being a little bit humoristic (the font) but in all seriousness also a pretty scary cover at that. Featuring one of those ghastly ghouls that seem to pop up everywhere unannounced, pretty common on hard-rock covers but also in thrash-metal e.g. Morbid Saint if I could ever think of one. Like Eddie on Iron Maiden covers, but on steroids instead. Well, since their album is titled Hollow Death, one would assume that this creature is about to have a snack. Even though the gentleman to the far left of the picture seem to be very afraid, the ghoul is pointing his finger at me, the listener. So, I believe his advice would be “Insane” and “Hollow Death“, if not, he’s going to go at the poor little man’s brain or something. Pretty scary, pretty humorous and pretty nice cover which reminds me of many things dear to me. Also, the black and white of the picture just enhances the feeling for the record, almost implying a sub-conscious aura of: “this is a demo, this is a rare tape, this is something you should have – raw and feisty thrash-madness“. Lets see if this cover was right.

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The Songs?

The first song Endless Execution goes off well into a nice slow thrash-metal riff as it enters the valley of thrash. A pretty nice riff that swirls up and down into my head, making it a pleasure to hear the rest of it. Then, suddenly, when you least expect it, the riffs accelerate into the thrashy goodness I would’ve predicted if I went by the cover to deem the song or at least the first one. It really sets a high standard for the other songs, amongst the vicious rhythmic and the fast-paced riffs the singer’s voice is a good one. Almost reminding me of an old school set of German thrash mixed up with the crossover of Municipal Waste at some times. A not so polished sound scape scratch off the edges of the rest of the sound, but I’m not really surprised by this and it outclasses most of the idiotic well-polished nanny-thrash out there. Basic riffing taken to a whole new level, whereas the solo also plays an important part to my well-being but also the structure as a whole. The drumming might not sound too tempting, but it has that swayed thrash-groove to it. There’s lots of changes in this song to, emphasizing on shifting from one tempo to another, but also at the same time keeping a tempo as a whole – but making the riffs more changeable. The only thing that might not change as much, would be the singer’s song, but to my surprise it goes from naively-sounding to viciously rabid in a second. This just shows how much you can do in thrash, making it not sound too generic. I hope that they’ve been influenced by the old-school sound of Germany, because that was, in my opinion, the best thrash there is. I can certainly hear hints of it both vocally and in the riffing as such, it’s not as polished but not as viciously brutal as the US counterpart of extreme thrash. You’ll find a good balance in this song, and as it sets the perimeter for the other ones, it makes me wishful for another antidote to the modern generic thrash. Good riddance, boys.

I didn’t have to wait many seconds until the transgression from the first song to the second made itself noticed. A thrash-attack thrown right into my face, directly, with the second song titled Tormentor of Life. I’m beginning to figure out what makes this band so much greater than many of the other bands that are out there. Despite the fact that this is their second demo-release, they’ve really thrown in a lot of old school into the mix and they’re actually doing it right. So I was surprised when I looked at the song and it was roughly about two minutes long. But it felt like an eternity. The singer’s voice really takes on what I’d like to call the forgotten old-school, daring to sing it in and instead of trying to sound brutal he actually puts a lot of effort and soul into his singing. Which occasionally means that his voice can sound like a teenager that have recently hit puberty, since his voice doesn’t hold some of the lighter tones at times. But that’s what I love with the thrashy old-school sound of it. The riffs are very well-managed throughout the song and the lyrics are really what you’d suspect from such a short song, but it’s really no competition when it comes to the sound scape. Even though the lyrics might not be what some people want, I actually like them because of the straight-forwardness and no-bullshit attitude – just form a circle pit already and mosh around. Only thing you’ll have to learn is the line: “Tormentor of Life!“, it would make for a great sing-a-long and thrash-along song if played live.

Third song Dark Internal have some other elements to it, that I haven’t really recognized in the songs prior to this. A more developed sound scape with darkness involved, almost as if its reached the borders of thrash and almost entered the realms of nocturnal death metal. The lyrics in this one is a tad more developed, and the singer sounds a little bit different in this one too. Both a thrash kind of mayhem, but at the same time the riffing and the drumming make itself transgress into a nice compliment of a realm. Wrap your head around this one, as it sounds what it would be if you’d hear one of Sadus earliest demos. Maybe not as fast, but certainly a little bit more technical. I really like the technical dimension of thrash and this song really made it happen. I didn’t really expect it on this album, which is a good thing since it’s almost about to end. I can actually hear a little bit more inspiration from the American bay-area thrash in this one, even though it’s pretty subtle. Also some of the earlier death metal from Sweden sound a bit more extreme, but they’ve also got some things featured in this song. The solos also start getting better and better the longer you listen to the song and the further you progress into it. It’s no half-assed work, these guys mean serious business. If thrash would’ve been a little bit more sophisticated, it would’ve had the name Insane. Also, the sound scape in this song is a little bit more interesting than the songs before this one. Even though I’d like the singer to exercise a little bit more of his shrieking growl, as it sounds really good. It sounds as if he’s howling out everything that’s been stuck inside of him, finally letting go of some evil fume to intoxicate you.

Before further notice, I’m thrown into the last of the songs and also the fourth one. Namely Preach Of Evil. Probably the best intro of these songs, but also the most monotonous meets complex that I’ve heard so far. The singer is trying to do the Municipal Waste in this one, which is appreciated. This could be one of their earlier songs if I didn’t know what I was listening to. But I must say that this song is more complex than just a crossover. I like the path when the chugging riffs and the drumming come in symbiosis with each other, when they’re not slaughtering each other in the sound scape trying to go bonanza. The singer methodically sings along to the rhythm and it’s basically the best part of the song and I enjoy it highly, a more slow approach to thrash which I’d love for them to explore even more in the future. Also, the solo riffing is really great and the baseline is dirty and raw but hides in the background. Finally, I’m let loose by a mad barrage of drumming and an climax worthy of ending this fine piece of record with. I’m really surprised and somewhat amazed at how good this album was and became throughout, it really grew on me and it’s definitely one of those records that I’d pick up and listen to one more time. Worthy of the old school, worthy of the classics. Let’s hope that this band stays on the road and continually put out great and varied material, let’s also hope that they one day find their spot among the classics of today. Who knows, maybe they’ll be the classics of tomorrow, ten or twenty years from now.

Favorite track(s): Dark Internal, Endless Execution.

The final verdict is: 7/10

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