Electric Hellride

Come Darkness, Come Light EP

Written by: AP on 07/05/2014 13:29:18

At the risk of sounding condescending, the average Danish metal fan is easy to please: stitch together some thrash riffs, insert a death metal groove here and there, and absolutely no clean singing. As Anders Bøtter - one of the most prominent figures in the Danish metal scene thanks to his hosting of the weekly Sort Søndag radio show - put it in a panel debate earlier this year, for an alarming number of people the genre has assumed a hobby character; something one goes to a couple of times a week to drink a beer and headbang without setting any sort of standard for the quality of the music being played, or minding the fact that really, most domestic metal bands here play exactly the same music from style to production to ambition - that distinct fusion of death metal and thrash derived from Hatesphere which got that band reasonably far.

Electric Hellride belong in this category, and while I've always had a certain affinity towards them, neither their 2012 debut album "Hate.Control.Manipulate" nor this latest EP "Come Darkness, Come Light" have the necessary characteristics to propel the Copenhagen based quartet to a place where their music will reach the international masses, impress the right magasines and thus take them beyond the 150-capacity venues that host the genre in this country. They did play at Wacken Open Air in 2012 of course, having won the Danish edition of the W:O:A Metal Battle that year, and they did so by virtue of the undeniable solidity of their music, not to mention the strength of their live performances. Indeed, Electric Hellride are probably the best generic Danish metal band out there right now, and on this outing they show no signs of fracturing or improving that status.

However as a critic, it is not my job to act as a career counsellor, but to assess the highlights and shortcomings of the music at hand. Electric Hellride waste no time in setting in stone what they're all about, thundering in with hectic, edge-of-the-seat drumming and an eerie palm muted base riff in opening track "Master Inferno", which immediately forms the image of some unholy Vader-Warbringer mesomorph charging at me, roaring its war chant "Master Inferno!" in bassist Casper Villumsen's harsh, Lars-Göran Petrov-esque voice. It's heavy, dark and laden with groove, yet not not without its melodic injections à la "Bloodred Hatred"-era Hatesphere as well - as is customary to the 'Hellride. The following, slower "Higher Profanity" is somewhat less menacing, verging on melodic death metal at times with Anders Molin & Nicklas Adamsson's staccato riffing and harmonised leads; before the standout "Grey Mass Depression" rains black metal misery onto the disc with Brian Olsson's blastbeats and double pedal hammering, and the ominous, ambient guitars of Molin & Adamsson ringing in the background, full of anguish.

As "Phosphorus" wraps up the proceedings on an equally unnerving note, tying its Norwegian influence around an excellent windmill-inducing chorus and a solo which briefly recalls the rather more festive grooves of "Hate.Control.Manipulate"; one is left with the sense that while Electric Hellride haven't come to a standstill in regard to their stylistic ambitions - this stuff is markedly darker in tone than the full-length - they still lack the edge needed to really plaster themselves into my memory. The songs, though well written and expertly performed, never spill over their confines to demand my undivided attention. It's frustrating, because they often come close to those heights, yet persistently lack that unforgettable groove, melody or simply nerve to sweep me off my feet.

7

Download: Grey Mass Depression, Phosphorus
For the fans of: Dismember, Entombed, Mordax, Vader
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.05.2014
Mighty Music

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