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ARSIS - review
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HELL-BORN
HELL-BORN
The Call Of Megiddo
(Conquer Records)
35:00min

To get a copy of this particular CD proved itself a painful task (thanx to my good friend Philippe Vayssière, a legend in his own right within the Parisian underground, who finally find this for me!) I was so eager to listen to this sophomore HELL-BORN album that my expectations were very high, and maybe too much I must add. Indeed, "The Call Of Megiddo" doesn't quite match its predecessor in terms of quality. Before I got the entire album, I only listened to the MP3 of 'Legion Is Our Name' featured on the Conquer Records website and I felt exhilarated by this. Unfortunately, this song is probably the best of the album. So what happened? The answer is simple, at least for me. The songwriting is slightly weaker than on "Hell-Blast" (HELL-BORN previous effort), I mean it is less surprising, less striking. I have always regarded Les as a master composer, be it with DAMNATION (where he writes 100 % of the music) or with HELL-BORN. He has a very special talent to come up with unusual ideas, twisted riffs and eerie arrangements. This time the song writing is split in two between Les and other guitarist Jeff. No offence to the latter, but his songs sound more generic, and less inspired. But at the same time, I don't want to give you the wrong impression: "The Call Of Megiddo" is still vastly superior to 99 % of the Death / Black Metal productions of these days, it is just that the little don't-know-what made "Hell-Blast" so essential is missing here. HELL-BORN have fortunately kept their trademark style rooted in the 80s and that is clearly their own. I don't know any other band who have the same sound, it is purely HELL-BORN. This is a very rare quality to find today, and only for that, "The Call Of Megiddo" should be a mandatory purchase. And also the songs are fairly enjoyable if not perfect, with the aforementioned 'Legion Of Doom' and 'Down Below He Dwells' as standout tracks. So all in all, an essential buy, despite the little annoyances I have signalled before. It is just that I consider HELL-BORN a too fantastic band to acknowledge that they can sometimes succumb to the false promises of rushed work.

Edouard Vergriete

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