HELL-BORN is a side project of Les and Ravenlock from DAMNATION, and this CD comes as a real surprise, because five long years have passed since the band’s first offering, a five track MCD on Pagan Records. HELL-BORN could be seen as a tribute to the ancient Death / Black gods of the past, with a touch of originality due to the fantastic – and I mean this – composing talent of guitarist Les. In fact, most of the tracks on offer here show strong hints of “Obsessed By Cruelty”-era SODOM (‘Raise The Dead’, ‘Visions Of Decline’), “Pleasure To Kill”-era KREATOR (the mid section of ‘The Victory’, this track being an instant classic, memorable!), plus POSSESSED and DESTRUCTION (especially on the four last tracks, taken from the aforementioned 1996 MCD). HELL-BORN is now a trio, with the addition of new recruit Jeff who handles the four strings abuse duty. The five new tracks (discounting a frightful intro) on offer here are absolute killers, and one could feel a kind of menacing presence haunting them. The vocals are shared by both Ravenlock and Jeff, and more than often they spit their hatred in unison, for the most frightening effect. The addition of the 1996 tracks (unfortunately minus the superb DESTRUCTION cover ‘Antichrist’) is a good idea in a sense, giving them a second chance, but I would have preferred them being redone for this album, just to match the devilish abyssal sound of the new songs, but this is a minor complaint really. I hope you understand that “Hellblast” is a mandatory purchase. Make no mistake, this is classic stuff (and by no means a “retro” thing), you could not say that about 99% of what is issued today. And don’t forget to check everything coming from the DAMNATION dudes too, because they always deliver highly captivating and exciting stuff. Hell born, Hell blast, Hell yes!!!!