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HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH
HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH
Hobbs Angel Of Death
(High Roller Records)
43:54min

It's hard to believe HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH released their self-titled first full-length almost thirty years ago. For those of us who feel old as we read these words, here's another little thing to wrinkle your skin further. Peter Hobbs once referred to the band's pure Thrash style as 'Virgin Metal', as it was a new and untouched form of Metal at the time. Sometimes compared to Tom Araya's vocal-style, Hobbs' style carries its own weight in Metal history. The virulent rasping of his breakneck-speed vocals runs alongside the chugging guitars and smashing drumming of fellow musicians Mark Woolley, Phil Gresik and Darren McMaster-Smith. The opening track 'House Of Death' casually begins with acoustic guitars layered with some electric guitar and slow drumming before crashing through the walls of sound in a Thrash infested array of destruction. Hell, there's even a guitar solo before the vocals even begin. And damn, what a glorious track it is, with its blistering, rampant, mosh-inducing energy. 'Satan's Crusade', with its wave of guitar onslaught and steady, quick skin-pounding leads the charge into what becomes a continuous attack of sheer furious Thrash at its finest. As was typical in the late eighties, the devil himself had to maintain his reputation for inspiring Metal, and the third track 'Lucifer's Domain' carries on the tradition. Ok, so maybe SLAYER did have a little influence in HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH. And who really cares? With tracks like this one, along with 'Jack The Ripper', 'Crucifixion' and 'Bubonic Plague', we almost yearn for song titles like these. And each and every song delivers. Beheadings are mentioned in 'Marie Antoinette' as expected. Tribal thumping of drums and a riff to wake the dead inhabit 'Brotherhood'. And the hellraising 'Cold Steel' ends this classic album nicely, never letting up in the angst-possessed album those who are familiar all know and worship. For a consistently blood-drenched Thrash album, here's to even more decades of music to keep us on our toes and wreaking havoc wherever our souls are led. For more information, check out www.facebook.com/hobbsangelofdeathofficial, www.hrrecords.de

David Simonton

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HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH
HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH
Hobbs Angel Of Death
(Modern Invasion Music)
43:56min

Huge. Right, that's the word I was looking for to stick to while making this little piece of review. The album to suffer it, the self-titled debut of Australian Thrashers HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH originally released in 1988 by SPV / Steamhammer, was born to be huge. Every little bit of it is just screaming about the fact. Besides, do you think anyone would undertake a trip of such an impressive length, all the way from Australia to Germany to lay down on tape 10 songs of theirs not being 101% sure that stuff is destined to become classic? Why it didn't become so huge as it had been supposed to remains one of the greatest mysteries of the Metal business for me. It may not be a record to make some revolution in music or break any borders and rules of the genre, but it's definitely a kind of record to break your neck in some hellish headbanging session. Simply because it's classic Thrash of the highest standard which makes you fuckin' move! It's the flawless effort indeed. Nothing is lost in the mix, every single instrument is easily distinguishable being right in its place, all ten songs put together, arranged, played, recorded, mixed, mastered (and whatever else it takes a song to reach our ears in the end) just perfectly. Then maybe that's exactly where its problem is hidden? You see, there are many albums with a cult status which have something that couldn't be accepted easily by the crowd. You know, like vocals of Dan Beehler and Thorsten Bergmann, for example, or the ultimate heaviness of HELLHAMMER, or the monk's habit of a certain Messiah, all that makes a cult but at the same time prevents from becoming a public hero of the day. But here, on the HOBBS debut effort, everything seems to be too well-done for its own good. Strange, isn't it? Harris Johns seem to have done the best he could to make it sound as perfect as possible and perhaps as German as possible, so such vague substance as some exotic coloring is non existent here, be it for better or for worse. Of course, some SLAYER (as well as SODOM and a couple more) allusions and influences are simply natural, even unavoidable here and there, but on the other hand - who could avoid them playing traditional Thrash? Even SLAYER themselves on their 90s albums couldn't, if you know what I mean. If I was about to ask for more, then I'd ask for more aggression coming out of Peter Hobbs' throat in some tracks, though that's probably the only thing I could find any fault with if I wanted to. Strange thing is that I don't feel like doing it. I love this album. It was a pleasure indeed to give it such a thorough listen again while writing this (No need for you to waste a ridiculous amount of money on the original CD version any longer as Modern Invasion Records finally made it available again. Their CD re-release not only features the two extra tracks of the original CD version - remember that the vinyl only had eight HOBBS classics - it also comes with a more attractive booklet, that has all the lyrics and a couple of cool pictures. Unfortunately Sebastian Krüger's excellent coverart turned out a little bit too dark this time, probably because the label was lacking in the original, but that's already my only complain about this legendary album - Frank). Instead of PS: most of the old Thrashers I've been honored to be in touch with turned out to be very modest, down to earth people without any traces of star fever or anything like that. And there were quite the names in Thrash Metal scene among them, take my word for it! But with Peter Hobbs, at least judging by a couple of his recent interviews, it seems a bit... ehhhm, different. Nothing that serious, of course, but still a bit unusual of 80s Thrashers to speak more in the vein of modern Black Metal heroes. Still, it has absolutely nothing to do with music itself, therefore let's take it easy. Especially as the man really has one hell of a talent to back up his words. Can't wait his upcoming new effort. Label contact: Modern Invasion Records, P.O. Box 7100, Brighton Melbourne, Australia 3186, www.moderninvasionmusic.com

Timothy Dovgy

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