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Through Hades By Way Of Bulgaria

Posted by THE DUKE on July 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

                                                                               Hades (Bulgaria)- Hades

                                                                             2010 Stormspell Records


   I was browsing the Stormspell website and listening to a few tracks each from the bevy of quality artists that the label represents, when I came across a band called Hades. The lettering on the album cover actually looks like the letters “XaoeC.” The letters are written in Cyrillic, and translate to the word “Hades” in English. The band formed in the 80s playing fast-paced speed/thrash metal music inspired by bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, and Destruction. Later, other influences by classic metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest began to mold the band’s music. Finally, due to the tastes and talents of the band’s guitarist Konstantin Jambazov, classical guitar elements were fused into the band’s music inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Tony MacAlpine. The band played numerous gigs around their hometown of Varna, Bulgaria and wrote many songs spanning a period from 1986-88. However, the songs were never recorded until this 2010 release. So basically what we have is a compilation album of newly recorded classic songs by Hades.


   Upon my first listen, I was immediately taken by the plethora of influences that were drawn upon to create the Hades sound. The songs are speedy and aggressive. The riffs are sharp and well executed. I definitely hear the influence of Annihilator in the execution of the riffs. There are many instances where there are perfectly timed, stutter riffs placed into the music. The opening song “Hades,” for example, begins with some atmospheric elements segueing into keyboards that are immediately overcome by some heavy stutter riffing. The second song, “Let The Day Be,” is characterized by many stops and starts. Each song is bolstered by a highly effective use of time changes with classical guitar interludes. The singer Pavlin Neichev has a stinging, raspy voice and sings the songs in his native language. His voice fits the music quite well. I can’t really compare his vocals to anyone in particular as he seems to have a style all his own. He is also the primary lyric writer in the band. The guitarist, Konstantin Jambazov is an incredible talent. His riffs are heavy, clean, and perfectly executed. He also seems to rip into guitar solos that are highly aggressive showing an Akira Takasaki influence. Furthermore, there are classical guitar pieces placed within the songs that are very reminiscent of Malmsteen, but show more feeling than Yngwie Malmsteen usually produces in his solos. The problem that I’ve always had with Malmsteen is that he tends to write his songs around his guitar solos. Many times he would place a solo in a song where it doesn’t seem to fit, and run up and down the fretboard without incorporating any feeling into his playing. To his credit, Jambazov shows a great deal of restraint within the songs. I say this because anyone who has checked out his solo work would know that he is classically trained and incredibly dexterous on his six-string. The solos in the Hades songs are both well placed and ripe with passion and feeling. I cannot forget to mention the prowess of the rhythm section. Bassist Julian Kolev and drummer Armenak Terteryan give performances that are solid and add power to the songs. Most of the songs are short, aggressive, and engaging. “Heavy Chains” has a great Maidenish gallop that dominates it. The song “Fireborn” is straight-ahead, and has a classic metal feel to it. Although most songs are short, there is one long epic track called “Party With The Devil” that brings into play all of the band’s skills that have been discussed here into one song. It stands almost as a sonic calling card representing the style of Hades. It is the band’s “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.” The song is long, epic, and diverse.


   I could continue to discuss the merits of this Hades disc, but it seems as though this review is already a bit long-winded. I called my review page a metal journal, because I wanted to abandon the standard review format for more of a journal approach that allows me to just put my thoughts to paper (or in this case the computer screen). I can tell you with some certainty that this Hades release is highly impressive and a worthy purchase. It is also highly collectible as it is limited to 500 copies. I have come across some metal listeners in my travels who are turned off by bands that sing in languages other than English, but it is important to remember that the English speaking world does not have a corner on the metal market. If the metal listener doesn’t keep an open mind, then unfortunately he or she will miss out on a great deal of quality metal. My biggest worry is that this Hades release will go unnoticed due to the confusion with the American band of the same name. This can be easily avoided if the metal consumer learns to recognize the letters “XAOEC,” for these letters signal to this same consumer that there is quality metal contained within.

Categories: The Duke's Classic Metal Journal