HELLKEEPER – A World Within Flesh (Self-Released)

These days, I really don’t know what constitutes a band being hardcore, metal, black metal, blackened hardcore, etc.  Being in the business for a while and needing to place an adjective on music has always been a challenge.  As multiple genres develop and morph into sub-genres, metal becomes a murky pool of great music.  Sometimes we need to get passed the genre and just take the music for what it is.  In the case of Hellkeeper, the music is awesome.

Hellkeeper began in the Hudson Valley area of NY in 2013.  In a few short years, they put out the Death City demo and I Hear Death Calling EP and now they deliver A World Within Flesh, their first full-length LP.

They have been compared to Rotten Sound, Trap Them, Deathspell Omega, and Converge.  To me, they are more along the lines of Trap Them with a focus on slight experimentation which is often lacking in music of this ilk.  All the songs range from 2 – 3 minutes and peppered in these nine songs are variations on blackened hardcore (damn labels).

I hate using a label like ‘blackened hardcore’ as I feel it will put you, the reader, in a predetermined mindset when listening.  Fear not, as this album is like the best Trap Them you’ve never heard with a TON more variety in song structure and chops.

Things only let up on the pulsating noise beat on “Cycle” and the song “Threadbare” which mixes clean singing with typical hardcore/metal vocal styling.  “Simulacrum” is a fantastic and fitting ending to this controlled chaos of an album.  It’s nice to hear a band who clearly embrace the genre and take chances without worrying what scene kids or journalists will think.

Drop the current hardcore or blackened death metal you’re currently listening to and give these guys a shot.  Well done gents!