December 30, 2009 | , | 3.5

Living Hell, Oblivion

Living Hell: Oblivion

Looking back on my review of Living Hell‘s The Lost and The Damned, it’s easy to see why the band has stuck to their formula of bruising hardcore with desolate atmosphere and dark overtones — the shit just works. The band’s debut effort with Eulogy Recordings, Oblivion, carries the bands bleak outlook through ten bruising, rib crushing songs.

When compared with their last album, Living Hell have upped the ante a good deal with regard to the power and ferociousness of their delivery. The music on this album is foreboding and fierce as the band bulldoze there way through your speakers. Thick, slow moving (even doomy at times) guitars shift from crushing riffs to driving hardcore frenzy as the rhythm section is comprised of meaty drums and thundering bass throughout the album. Vocally, the band is on par with their previous work with gruff and raw shouts and growls.

Sin of the World
“Sin of the World” is a slow moving behemoth of a song. With a much doomier feel to the guitars, the band are able to effectively portray a weathered canvas on which Craig Mack (lead vocalist) is able to lay his deep, raspy and vehement delivery. The riffing is memorable and slick as the rhythm section keep the song flowing like and icy, black river. Man, talk about a hell of a song to open the album with.

Blessed are the Dead
After that rather somber opening, Living Hell keep the pace slow moving with “Blessed are the Dead.” The opening to this one features some really powerful, bruising guitars along with thundering drum work. There’s a touch of melancholy floating in the dense buzz of the guitars that adds a nice touch to this track. The vocals finally make their appearance about 1:30 into the song and are just as raw and brooding as the music. We finally see the pace pick up around 2:10 with driving drums and a quickened vocal delivery. The lead at 2:47 is a nice touch and fits in nicely.

Demonic Assault
I’m not sure the title of the song really describes the music captured within this track — perhaps the opening guitar shredding over top the rapid fire drumming. This is an aggressive, up-tempo blasting song with vehement vocals and pummeling pace. The shredding leads make another appearance around 1:15 and jump from guitar to guitar while the drums do everything within their power to shatter your ribs.

A New Skin for an Old Demon
Holy hell the drums at the onset of this song are huge. Rolling like the galloping riders of the Apocalypse, “A New Skin for an Old Demon” opens up like a flood gate of hatred and hellfire. The pace eventually settles into a decent pummeling groove with slick guitar work and ferocious vocals. I’ve played this song several times in a row and it never loses its impact.

The title track has got a nice gallop to it, as well. It’s in the same vein as say Ringworm and Integrity, and is everything I’ve come to expect from first hearing the band’s last album. “Oblivion” is intense, forceful and will have you pumped for anything and everything.

I’m digging the swampy doom sound to the guitars as “122112” gets underway. The bass throughout the song has more of a presence than on the previous tracks and only proves to add to the denseness of the song. The noodling just before the one minute mark serves to break up the intensity a bit. This song is mired in suffocating riffs and bleakness. I love it — especially the trading guitar squeals midway through.

Amidst the Wolves
Evil, rumbling bass and reverb greet the listener as “Amidst the Wolves” gets off to a start. The first minute or so is only a build up to a raucous back-alley beat-down for the remainder of the song. The feel of this one is classic hardcore, but delivered with darker tones. The layered vocals are a nice touch, as well.

Gods Undone
Now, this is what I’m talking about. “Gods Undone” is a high energy track with traditional hardcore trappings ramped up to the levels of near thrash and encased in a shroud of destruction. This song never lets up on the accelerator as it punishes and bruises — even during the breakdown around 1:15. Holy hell!

Seething Envy
More rumbling bass and gets this next one off to a decent start. The band revisits the slower pace of the first few songs before jumping into a decent thrash gallop. Man, I’m digging this album. It’s not the best track on the album, but it certainly packs a punch.

“Leviathan” wraps up a great sophomore effort from Living Hell with a ferocious, in-your-face attack with some of the harshest vocals on the album. Man, these guys showcase some sweet shredding on a few short-lived leads along with burly rhythms. This is definitely the right way to end out an album like this — bruising and rifftastic.

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