Back in Hell Review (Ave Noctum)

This is the debut solo album from Steve whom some of you will know as the mastermind behind Hamerex. With Hamerex effectively being put on hold last year, Steve has worked to bring his solo vision to the world, made all the more possible with crowd funding of the dedicated followers. Steve wrote all the music and recorded all the instruments himself. Coupled with a wrist injury from doing the drums, we are 5 months later than originally planned. However, the results are worth the wait.

What I will say immediately is that the quality of the drums is immensely better to that of say Hamerex recordings. Finally, we have the intended sound capture that provides the meat behind the other instruments. Those who know Steve’s previous work will be well aware of his influences. What you will get when going ‘Back in Hell’ is much homage to Messer’s Maiden, Priest, Saxon and a touch of Queensryche. Form the start, the album title track sets out the foundations. A great British metal romp and as each track progresses, you can get more immersed into the release. When you reach ‘The Prophet’, you have a complete picture. The next three tracks that follow (‘Arabian Nights’, Out of This World’ and ‘The Midas Touch’) are perhaps the most compelling and musically accomplished pieces, it’s a real shame these three tracks don’t have lyrics, hopefully, someday! However, with this evolution nearing its on completion, ‘Twisted Evolution’ continues to show the class and versatility of a damn fine musician.

Steve’s not afraid to go epic either…taking ‘The Slain/Tues That Bind’ as an example. The work put in and recorded is special, a great light for British metal. Working with Andy Firth who co-mixed and mastered the album, really has paid off. As I mentioned earlier about the drums, the rest of the production feels fuller and a lot more buoyant than previous projects. I am most pleasantly surprised and also genuinely pleased for the artist.

All in all, this is British metal taking inspiration from masters of the scene that has developed into a combined influential and proficient recording.

(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)


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