HELLRIPPER "Warlocks Grim And Withered Hags"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Not even one week into 2023 and this monster comes RIPPING in! If this is a sign of what we're in for this year, it's going to be a hell of a year. The really amazing things is that HELLRIPPER is the work of one man, Scotland's James McBain. But that's impossible to detect when you listen to this.

Blackened thrash/speed metal is the best description of what HELLRIPPER sounds like, but there's more to their sound than even that. There's a certain evil elegance to their dark and aggressive speed and also a truly "Scottish" kind of feel to the music. Which is all too appropriate because "Warlocks Grim and Withered Hags" deals with monsters and legends of Scottish folklore. We get to meet "The Nuckelavee", a demonic beast like a one-eyed skinless horse, as well as the Sawney Bean clan of incestuous cannibals on 'The Cursed Carrion Crown'. The subject matter is a perfect match to McBain's savage yet catchy speed metal riffs that will have you thrashing from the first minute of the album to the last.

Honestly, there's not one bad or mediocre track here. They all rip equally and McBain knows when to insert elaborate guitar melodies or almost folkish traces of songwriting into songs that never stop raging. Two particularly monstrous tracks are the title track and "Goat Vomit Nightmare". But they're all great and McBain's extra crispy blackened rasps are just right for the music. The whole album is superb and I can almost guarantee it will be in my year end list for 2023.