[Artwork by Greg.Fate]
Salutations, heavy metal traveler. Do you like Hell?
Goodness, what an absurd question. Of course you like Hell. Even if you don’t believe in its proper existence (despite the fact that we appear to be living through it in the modern age), you’ve probably enjoyed the concept and the irresistible temptation of Hell since… Well, probably the very first day you set foot inside the heavy metal sphere. As a collective, we have been awaiting Hell for decades, and a great many of us have taken unbreakable oaths and even gone so far as to join leagues that directly involve Satan himself. We love immolations and incantations, and we generally prefer angels to be dark, morbid, corpsed or witches. Suffice to say: if you’re a heavy metal fan, Hell seems pretty fucking terrific. And sure, in the off chance that Hell is actually REAL real, while we’ll probably have to fight Mussolini over the last under-fried turtle anus at the dinner table while listening to Charles Manson drone on and on and on into infinity about how perfect the production on Pet Sounds is, at least the soundtrack to our eternal collapse will be great, yes?
Manic Deliverance offers up 15 minutes of blissfully diabolical death / thrash custom-built for Hell’s rank and file. All the sheer joy resulting from stoking consuming fires and cheerfully tormenting lost souls bleeds through these five fleeting odes to human suffering, and the impish manner in which the band’s new vocalist (some goblin designated Grog) barks certainly slams home the euphoria Iron Cemetery must reap as a result of loosing such evil upon the earth. IT’S EVIL, GODDAMNIT! That’s the crux of the matter. But Manic Deliverance, much like the EP that preceded it, never forgets to ride to the unholy celebration on a Huffy Green Machine, which means IT’S ALSO FLIPPIN’ FUN, GODDAMNIT! The howling is as exhilarated as it is poisonous, and the guitar work is equal shades razor-sharp deadly as it is gloriously melodious. Early 90s’ Morbid Angel colluding with mid-80s’ Slayer and somehow finding a way to get Ghoul in on the bonkfest? Sure! Come on in, the fire’s nice and warm.
CRIKEY, that’s a crisp attack. Crisp, severe and spotless without fully stripping the rawness that made fundamental building block records like Power and Pain and None Shall Defy unmitigated classics that sowed the seeds for this particular sound. It’s pretty clear that Iron Cemetery—while remaining unnamed beyond Night, Void, Rot and Grog—have a deep familiarity with the genre and are no strangers to playing this sort of racket. A sound this tight couldn’t be cooked by strangers or newcomers, right? There are clues in the guitar work, for certain, but some mysteries are best left for the abyss, so GO TO HELL, Jessica Fletcher.
Hails also are due for continuing to keep it short, which…seems a bit like a backhanded insult, but it’s not. Would it be nice to eventually net a proper long-player along the lines of Reign In Blood that keeps things righteously pithy? For-fucken-certain. But please don’t reach beyond 30-minutes or so; death / thrash offensives such as this are best served in a “get in, kill, get out” sort of fashion that leaves you wanting more instead of getting blurry-eyed by the 40-minute mark. Manic Deliverance does the deed very quickly, but it doesn’t leave the listener feeling short-changed once that last second ticks off. Perhaps that’s because all it truly takes to cause all Hell to break loose is just one quick peek into the box.
The box. You opened it, we came…