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Review: Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D.
Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D.

Label: Noise Records
Year released: 1990
Duration: 25:47
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black/Thrash


Review online: September 12, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 4.16/5 (83.2%) (25 Votes)

This is essentially the only way you are going to get any Hellhammer material outside of a bootleg. This was the band Tom Warrior and Martin Ain started and then left before they formed Celtic Frost, and the rest - as they say - is history. Hellhammer basically had one release, the EP "Apocalyptic Raids" that was released in 1984. This is a rerelease of that EP with two bonus tracks added from the Noise Records "Death Metal" compilation from the same year. So this is a rerelease with some added value.

What is there to say about a band that is credited along with Venom and Bathory as starting Black Metal? Hellhammer basically play a low-fi, simplistic style of Venom-worship, with simple but catchy riffs and Tom Warrior's signature gruff vocals. This sounds pretty much like Celtic Frost circa "Morbid Tales" but with even rawer production and more inept playing. Hellhammer, like Venom in the early days, were characterized by their inability to actually play their instruments, and I have to agree that this sort of simplicity and directness cannot be faked. Only a band of kids who are still learning to play could or would produce anything this raw and stripped-down. Artlessness, as the Japanese say, is the most difficult art.

This is a slice of metal history, and an essential for fans of raw Black Metal, as this is one of the bands that started it all. Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, and Possessed are like the unholy grandparents of the genre, but this is surely the rawest of the bunch.

More about Hellhammer...
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