Hell Posts New Album "Human Remains" Track-By-Track Breakdown
Guitarist Kevin Bower of reactivated British heavy metal outfit Hell has posted a track-by-track breakdown of the band's new album "Human Remains." You can check out the breakdown below, or find Hell's video clip for "On Earth As It Is In Hell" at this location.
1 OVERTURE: THEMES FROM 'DEATHSQUAD': This began life as a rocking instrumental which originally appeared as the B-side of HELL's self-financed and now extremely rare 1983 7" vinyl single – subsequently bootlegged, but with the original now selling for absolutely ludicrous money on Ebay. For the introduction to this album, Kev Bower has taken some of the principal themes and orchestrated them in full-on Wagner 'Sturm und Drang' style using digitally-sampled orchestra and choir.
2 ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HELL: The intro section to this song is strangely notable for having been written by Tony Speakman whilst he was sat playing his bass on the toilet (bog metal?) with the remainder consisting of typically 'agent provocateur' religion-questioning lyrics over slabs of furious riffing. Live performances of this would always see Dave donning a full vicar's garb complete with the band’s now-infamous pyrotechnic exploding bible. This caused outrage amongst the local clergy at the time - it was literally front-page headline stuff in the local papers…
3 PLAGUE AND FYRE: A true moment of inspiration, written about the Bubonic Plague and the Great Fire of London. This song featured Dave lurching round the stage, enveloped in smoke, dressed in a hooded cloak ringing a plague caller's handbell. The new intro features a chilling 1665 'Black Death' soundscape - again put together using a digital sampler – but which amazingly features Dave's voice, which Andy Sneap has somehow managed to lift and reprocess from a 25-year-old live gig cassette-tape recording. The song is historically significant, as it was the penultimate one Dave and Kev ever wrote as a Hell composition.
4 THE OPPRESSORS: A bludgeoning adaptation of a Race Against Time song which was a hugely popular feature of the Hell set for many years. The song is about an alien abduction, and the consequent refusal of those in authority to believe the story told by the victim.
5 BLASPHEMY AND THE MASTER: A great favourite of both fans and band alike, and a dire warning about the consequences of selling your soul to the wrong deity..……. The intro and outro of this song are based around haunting sets of synthesizer drones which were Kev’s first foray into keyboards back in the day – using a vintage Moog analogue machine which would drift hopelessly out of tune mid-way through the set as it warmed up under the lighting rig. The song has been updated with a new Latin chant in the middle section beefed up with Gregorian choirs and a massive digitally sampled church organ.
6 LET BATTLE COMMENCE: This song opened the show from the very beginning of Hell's previous existence almost until the end, with Dave performing an intense, lunatic front-man show. Although the song was already fairly quick, the lethal combination of pre-show nerves (no beta-blockers back then……..) coupled with immense adrenaline, a baying crowd, Dave's 'anything-goes' antics and the band’s collective over-abundance of youthful testosterone, meant that it was usually played at breakneck speed, with somewhat unpredictable and sometimes amusing results. It would also feature the unleashing of massive quantities of fire and pyrotechnics, which generated so much smoke in smaller venues that the band were usually rendered totally invisible to the audience for at least the first ten minutes of the gig…
7 THE DEVIL'S DEADLY WEAPON: A musical and lyrical epic, a classic tale of good versus evil (guess who wins?.....) and a song which shows how Kev was becoming ever more adventurous with synthesizers during the latter days of Hell's first coming. Much HELL material would see him playing either guitar or keyboards individually, but the complexity of this one meant that in the middle section, both were needed at the same time, so some of the keyboard parts were fed in automatically using a sequencer – a kind of digital memory box programmed up to play these parts. This had to be synchronized to a 'beep' metronome, so that Tim could play along in time with this gadget, using a click-track relayed to him onstage through headphones.
8 THE QUEST: Straightforward, heads-down, foot-on-the-monitors boogie courtesy of Tony and Tim. When it first surfaced, two members of the band (who shall remain nameless) were very reluctant to play it because it was 'too happy' and was deemed to be structurally, lyrically and musically 'too simple'. But - the fans absolutely loved it, and it went on to hold the distinction of being one of a tiny number of songs which remained firmly entrenched in the HELL set from the very first gig through to the very last. Just goes to prove that variety is indeed the spice of life…
9 MACBETH: Whilst most young men were reading car magazines (and other subject matter), Dave was reading Shakespeare, and the 'Scottish Play' was his favourite. The song bravely attempts to précis the guts of the story into a few simple lines and was again a huge favourite with the fans, due in part to the cauldron-stirring, three-witches theatrical antics which accompanied the live performance of this. This version is re-worked for 2011, but remains totally true in spirit to the original.
10 SAVE US FROM THOSE WHO WOULD SAVE US: This song was the A-side of the previously-referred-to 7" single on HELL's own 'Deadly Weapon' label. The original was recorded in one live take in a studio which was essentially the living room of someone's tiny terraced house, up a back street in Kingston-Upon-Hull, using very quiet guitars and Tim's drum kit muffled out with a quilt and pillows from the studio owner's bed. Unsurprisingly, it didn't exactly capture the raw guts of the band's live performance, and it suffered from an achingly soft production. This new version is how it was supposed to have sounded…
11 NO MARTYR'S CAGE: A massive slab of dark heaviness with a distinctly mystic-East feel, created using a recycled Halliday verse riff added to a bunch of Kev’s new ones, a new arrangement, and lyrics which deal with the subject of political imprisonment. This song is also historically significant, but in direct contrast to 'Plague and Fyre' which was almost the last song, this was the first-ever HELL composition, written by Kev and Dave at his mother's house one evening, just a few days after the band had formed.
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