October 23, 2007 | , | 3

Living Hell, The Lost and The Damned

After what is now considered a stand out debut, New England’s Living Hell return with their sophomore release from Revelation Records. The Lost and The Damned is one hell of an aggressive album, mixing elements from bands like Ringworm and Integrity, but adding enough of their own flair to make a sound all the band’s own. Having members from such bands as Follow Through, Fear Tomorrow and Dead Wrong provides one hell of a pedigree in hardcore, pulling influences from all over the genre.

Chugging, beat down riffs mix with melodic breaks and a few guitar solos to deliver a message as bleak as a post apocalyptic landscape. Pounding drums and thundering bass only prove to push Living Hell’s sound through the listener’s every orifice. Craig Mack’s vocal delivery is deep and raspy — layered with a thick helping of piss and vinegar.

The Resurrection
“The Resurrection” fades in from static and noise with a solitary dark, desolate riff. Big drums and deep hardcore vocals come into the mix. This starts out as one slow moving juggernaut of a song before picking up in speed a little around the 1:30 mark. The overall tone of the track is that of a dark, anti-social and chugging monstrosity.

“Mabrothrax” quickly comes in after the opening track ends abruptly. Backing vocals help punctuate Mack’s delivery as beefy breakdowns beat your eardrums senseless. The lyrical content for this track is apocalyptic in nature with the music only serving to emphasize the impending doom that’s just around the corner.

Now this is what I’m talking about! This is one brutal, aggressive attack on the senses. High paced drums kick in almost immediately with an air of insolence. This is pretty tough guy oriented, but damn, I love this shit. Crushing riffs and thundering drums combine for a short 1:15 of sheer brutality.

Mask of Serenity
A brief sound clip starts this one off as the band shifts to a slightly sped up mid tempo song. This is another anti-social, aggressive track tempered only by it’s duration.

I’m digging the drumming on this one. It’s not a full on pedal assault, but has a bit more structured, refined means of devastation. Group vocals on the chorus will have you growling along the next time you hear this song.

Taken from a page of the Blood for Blood play book, “Everything” is a bleak take on facing one’s past in order to move forward with your life. This one is pretty damned hard hitting with pounding drums and crushing riffs. The group vocals help give a bit of emphasis on portions of the track.

Parable of a Madman
I’m digging the slower build up to “Parable of a Madman” before all hell literally breaks loose at the 20 second mark. After that onslaught, the band settles in with some nice leads and creative riffing that’s catchy and memorable. This is one well structured song, shifting tempos smoothly — easily making this my favorite song on the album.

Fall From Grace
A riff similar to the last song helps keep the momentum flowing as “Fall From Grace” gets flowing. The pace quickly picks up in classic Ringworm style as the vocals kick in. The guitar leads on this one are impressive. It makes you wonder at this point, if the first six tracks were merely setting you up for these excellent mid-album tracks. They are still contain enough weight to knock the side of your skull in, but they are more than the one dimensional sound we heard in the beginning of the album.

Malleus Dei
“Malleus Dei” starts off with a tremendous bit of guitar work before bruising riffs and drumming join it. There’s a pretty creative and infectious riff running through the middle of this track.

End of Eternity
“End of Eternity” is another track that starts off with some creative guitar work, however brief it is. The band quickly descends into a churning pit of fists and elbows, leaving you alone on the floor to pick up your own teeth. The 1:50 spot on the track marks a rather soulful solo.

Drawn to Chaos
After the creative song writing of the past couple of tracks, it’s time to get your knuckles taped up cause we’re going out for a night on the town. A thick bit of bass gets this one going as the rest of the band catches up with driving riffs and kidney rupturing drumming. This one is all about the beat down, both lyrically and musically.

King of Kings
The final track on this album comes only too soon. I feel like I just put the album in but a few minutes ago. At any rate, it starts with some big riffs and creative drumming as Mack starts yelling. After the music is over the track continues with all sorts of static and sound clips in the background (it lasts nearly 5 minutes).

~ ~ ~

For as aggressive and one dimensional as this album seemed in the first couple of tracks, it ended up really surprising me. The second half of the album is well structured, adding a bit more melody and creativeness to their aural assault. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a steady stream of aggression flowing from may speakers, but it’s genuinely nice to see these guys mix up their style a bit with the later tracks. I hope that this is a sign of some maturation that may be heard on later albums.

Favorite Tracks:
The Resurrection
Parable of a Madman
Fall From Grace
Malleus Dei

Additional Notes: