Hell Militia

Last Station on the Road to Death

Written by: EW on 04/08/2010 23:29:52

I'm not sure exactly what it is but with every passing black metal album I hear being spat out from the French underground the more developed in my mind is a particular 'sound' being defined by the scene, very different from the more recognisable Swedish and Norwegian BM noises. So too does my respect for a 'scene' that with every release manages to maintain an extraordinarily high level of depravity throughout numerous bands, as Hell Militia have royally achieved here on their second album, "Last Station on the Road to Death".

Rather than relying on the feelings and images of nature and paganism, Hell Militia's aura is that of urban decay and depravation wrapped in a cloud of drug abuse, with the end result being black metal of a discordant and relentlessly bleak nature. Clear in production, the trundling speed, pained screams and leading guitar lines in "Et Inferno Ego" and the album's closing title track ring home with a sense of foreboding better than your average 1000mph Dark Funeral-influenced album is ever likely to do. Though numerous listens have helped, variation between songs is not necessarily easy to come by across the 47 minutes here, even with a sound recalling the progression leanings of Secrets of the Moon, as the feeling of having heard it before grows steadily throughout in the same deeply unsettling manner. It is however in the last song where the drama reaches it's climax as the slow-burning title-track comes to life where Hell Militia's sense of satisfaction is borne out through the most vigorous moments to be found, not least in the sickening screams of Meyhnach, a man who doesn't sound like the kind you'd wish your daughters to meet, even on his good days.

Aside from a cover of GG Allin's "Shoot Knife Strangle Beat & Crucify") in the latter stages of the album, where the original punky vibe is kept honourably intact even at the expense of breaking the flow of the album, Hell Militia's assault is highly consistent across "Last Station..." with no real let-down in the viciousness of their message. All I'm left to say is, if, like me, the forest-influenced BM of Norway feels just a bit too rural in your grey concrete metropolis, Hell Militia offer the urban alternative with a record of stark disgust. You'd never have thought if possible for such a band from the so-called 'city of love'.

Download: Last Station on the Road to Death, Et Inferno Ego
For the fans of: Secrets of the Moon, Antaeus, Funeral Mist
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.04.2010
Debemur Morti Productions

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