REVIEW: MEMORIAM – “The Hellfire Demos II” [EP]
Longtime Bolt Thrower drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 38 in 2015. This unfortunate event saw the legendary band end its activities last year, out of respect for their late member and the lack of desire to continue doing something that didn’t felt right anymore, as stated by frontman Karl Willets. But, as it is with everyone, there are things we just can’t stay away from, and with these guys it’s music. So after less than a year after Bolt Thrower’s end, Karl and his loyal buddies Scott Fairfax (guitars), Frank Healy (bass, Benediction, Sacrilege) and Andrew Whale (drums, and actually Bolt Thrower’s first drummer) joined forces in paying homage to their brother the best way they could: by making music. And here is where Memoriam begins.
With that little history lesson out of the way and the band members properly introduced, it’s time to talk about what really matters in this review. Memoriam have been lurking around since last year and already have an EP entitled ‘The Hellfire Demos’ to their name, and this month we’ll be graced with their second endeavor, ‘The Hellfire Demos II’. By now you should already know that these guys play old-school death metal in the style of, well, Bolt Thrower (more than ok with that, if you ask me). As this EP only has two songs, I’ll keep this review relatively short, so here we go.
“Drone Strike” starts with a good fret lead and delivers a cadenced approach to the death metal genre. Karl Willets showcases his characteristic harsh pipes as good as always, while the kitchen-duo Healy/Whale maintains surgical precision in order to accompany the single – but very potent – guitar by Fairfax. The track has actually a sad and depressing atmosphere despite not being a ballad or the lyrics being melancholic. This makes the song very singular and enjoyable.
“Surrounded (by Death)” has a similar pace but the band throw in some riffs and distorted bits in the mix. It is slightly faster than its predecessor and has more aggressiveness, especially in the mid portion of it when the dudes go bonkers and explode in a full-on death rampage, all while still maintaining the depressing element – this time allied to anger and fierceness.
‘The Hellfire Demos II’ strikes quick and swiftly. It’s a good taste of what is to come by Willets and company, the songs actually show emotion and have definitely some sort of personal meaning to these Brits. Although not as memorable as the honoree, the EP is decent and actually has no weak bits. Let’s wait to see how they fare in a full length album.