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Lower Hell - "Hellevator" (CD)

Lower Hell - "Hellevator" CD cover image

"Hellevator" track listing:

1. Warriors of the Dead (5:37)
2. The Requiem (2:54)
3. Aftershow Party in a Casket (4:46)
4. Nothing Personal Just Business (3:07)
5. The Shores of Acheron (1:24)
6. Tonight I'm Coming Home (6:34)
7. The Beast (5:06)
8. Hellevator (4:58)
9. This Is Vengeance (3:20)
10. Lower Hell (4:48)
11. Keep the Good Times Rollin' (4:17)
12. Bury Me Where I Can't Hear You (3:51)

Reviewed by on September 8, 2010

"While 'Hellevator' certainly isn’t a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination, it definitely contains some solid metal."

For some reason, metalcore and melodic death metal seem to go hand in hand often these days. While most examples of this that I’ve heard fall very short in the realm of originality, Lower Hell seems to be the exception with “Hellevator.” While the name is pretty cheesy, the music is very well composed and while the band tends to play in circles in some parts, this album is a solid piece of melodic and pulse-pounding metal.

I think what helps “Hellevator” transcend the redundancy that metalcore tends to bring is the fact that Lower Hell manages to mix the genres very tastefully. The melody is well interspersed and manages to become very catchy, especially in later parts of the album. A good portion of the music is driven by thrash riffs, but Lower Hell manages to cram more than enough Gothenburg influence into the music, while still maintaining a bit of the metalcore sound. “Aftershow Party in a Casket” is by far the highlight of the album, with a powerful mid-section that features some very emotionally driven guitar work. The track is very well written and contains lots of variation without losing the core structure. “Nothing Personal, Just Business” has an interesting classic rock tinge that maintains lots of the melodeath sound, yet brings something a little different. The title track features a beautiful strings intro and becomes very evocative. Occasional bass solo work is sprinkled throughout the tracks and adds a lot to the music.

Unfortunately, not every track is quite successful. “Tonight I’m Coming Home” starts well with a beautiful strings intro, but devolves into a pretty typical metalcore sound. The transition is not quite successful and pretty much ruins the song. “This Is Vengeance” attempts some stop-start guitar work and time signature changes, but falls short and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album. Some sections devolve into an oft-used metalcore formula, and while they definitely detract from the album, the awesome melodic riffing that is present in most of the tracks makes up for it. Some parts could be heavier, but it’s not like the sound is over-the-top clean anyway.

Lower Hell’s “Hellevator” was a surprising album for me. The band manages to traverse genres, particularly metalcore and melodic death metal, very well. While “Hellevator” certainly isn’t a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination, it definitely contains some solid metal. The majority of the riffing is quite righteous, and while I may not jam this one repeatedly, it’s definitely worth a listen.

Highs: Efficient mix of metalcore and melo-death.

Lows: "Tonight I'm Coming Home" and "This Is Vengeance" fizzle out.

Bottom line: Though some parts don't deliver, this album mixes metalcore and melodic death metal very well.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)