"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Heavenly Trip To Hell - "Who Is The Enemy" (CD)

Heavenly Trip To Hell - "Who Is The Enemy" CD cover image

"Who Is The Enemy" track listing:

1. Lies
2. New World
3. No Way Out
4. Welcome To The Fire
5. America
6. Resistance
7. Assassination Number One
8. Back Against The Wall
9. War
10. Revolution
11. Designated Enemy
12. Willing To Kill
Bonus Track: 69

Reviewed by on September 13, 2006

"one of the most originally conceived politcal rock albums that has been released since U2's 1983 album, 'War.'"

Long Beach, California's Heavenly Trip To Hell have self-released "Who Is The Enemy" on Other Side Records and have executed by far the single most compelling and exceptionally crafted collection of industrial metal songs for 2006. This sonic hellfire of a record has even outshined the great Al Jourgensen's critically praised Revolting Cocks disc 'Cocked And Loaded' from earlier this year.

Through a hodge podge mixture of metal, straight ahead rock and obvious Ministry influence, they blur the lines of all three genres right out the gate with the opening track "Lies," spearheaded by a heavy guitar riff, rough and tumble drum bashing and dizzying keyboard work. The second song "New World" opens with the lyrics: "Look to the past, You will find the future", followed by "A rich man's war, oppressing all the poor", all the while backed up with a blazing output of tightly packed rhythm and angst-ridden vocals that make you feel as desperate about the situation as they intended for you to.

Tune number three, "Welcome To The Fire," sends a clear message that this band has a lot of politics on their mind to share with the final verse line: "We need to find a new empire." The next track, "America," is by far the most grooving, but the following spell-binder "Resistance" is creepily haunting with a riff that sounds like you've entered a haunted version of The White House only to find the hanging body of George W Bush in one of the many guest bedrooms. The spooky tone of the keyboard play on the sixth track "Assassination Number One," layered with the punk style kick drumming and thickly distorted chug-gallop leads one to think that maybe they have just ended up in the deepest levels of hell. The lyrics: "Innocent lives will pay the price, power and greed will make you blind," are joined by a Manson family sounding death parade blitz. "Back Up Against The Wall" totally starts out like a punk classic that you may have even heard from The Butthole Surfers, joined by Zakk Wylde-esque guitar squealing and beefy percussion chops and drowning keys. I think the lyrics here totally capture the mentality of our current U.S. government perfectly: "Back against the wall, dream stand tall, gone too far, we want it all."

"War" is an all out ode to Motley Crue's early Sunset Strip glory tainted in dripping gobs of syrupy processed vocals. The lyrics here pull no punches whatsoever at the current administration: "Save yourself, run and hide," shortly accompanied by the next tracks's super anti-estabishment shocker "Revolution" and the assessment: "Who do we blame for this?"The next crusher is 'Designated Enemy' and takes dead aim at the current war on terror with a kick out the jams assault on the senses that even MC5 would have to applaud to," summing it all up with the chorus: "We will rise". Ending it all is "Willing To Kill", which even has a sample of George W himself offering: "Are you willing to Kill?" Perhaps the best statement is saved for the crazy end of this classic with "When will we rise and fight?"

I think the most fascinating thing that has been achieved here by this true underground metal band is that they have done something that even Al couldn't do at Ministry's peak, which is to bark an entire political message from start to end that is more embraceable and bare bones chilling in its intimate candor of personal frustration. Coming full to life after several minutes of dead air silence is the bonus track "69" that seemingly jumps out of the smoldering ashes of the White House being burnt down with a death march drum start, married by a steady-eight note dance ala Sid Vicious creeping out from the grave that takes us down a beated path to a row of U.S. flag draped coffins of dead 19 year old American soldiers who look to have a questioning expression on all their blown off faces. The wah wah pedal, 60's style guitar work is eventually joined by the lyrics "Now they call my name, now they call my name."

Heavenly Trip To Hell's "Who Is The Enemy" is quite simply one of the most originally conceived politcal rock albums that has been released since U2's 1983 album, War.

Highs: The track "America" is by far the most metal sounding offering on the disc.

Lows: The mix could have used heavier keyboards or a second guitar.

Bottom line: Very intriguing and well articulated heavy music that grabs you by the throat from its very start.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)