The evocatively titled vinyl EP Phantom Bell by the Swedish death metallers/crust punkers Bombs of Hades consists of four well-crafted pieces that turn instantly addictive once you have started listening to them. Not being familiar with their earlier works, this noisy quartet blew yours truly away ten seconds after the title cut – which is the opening track on this release – had blared out over the loud speakers and demolished the apartment.
Phantom Bell is as raw and unpolished as it is catchy and exhilaratingly heavy. With an emphasis on dark, groovy riffs capable of melting your face off and an utterly solid drive (not to mention an abundance of confidence), these skilled Scandinavians will pummel your senses and leave you begging for more. Sure, this is neither the most original nor musically innovative thing that you will come across this year, but that hardly matters since the entire thing is so superbly written and performed.
The great thing about Bombs of Hades (apart from the fact that they write bone-snapping songs with hooks aplenty to them) is that it borrows as much from old Entombed and At the Gates as it does Motörhead, which probably accounts for why their tunes are so memorable and possess that fabulously rumbling, pulverizing quality. Sitting still while listening to Phantom Bell is well nigh impossible in the humble opinion of this writer. There is attitude and swagger to what this loud and nasty outfit offers, but heaps of substance too. Even though the music is clearly rooted in old-school death metal, the compositions have an underlying rock ‘n’ roll vibe to them that is invigorating and charming, and the slightly subtle crust punk influences that course through the EP add color and nuance to the proceedings on top of all that.
Given that Phantom Bell only contains four tracks, one can only hope that this skilled act will hit the studio again soon and churn out a full-length assault. Having said that, they do have many entries in their discography, so if nothing else we can always immerse ourselves in their back catalogue while we wait for more material from them. Either way, this upcoming EP of theirs is an impressive piece of work that ought to appeal to all lovers of warm-sounding, lively, and gut-piercing death metal. This is excellent death metal madness with a wicked twist of crust to it.
Phantom Bell will be released on 17th April via Black Lodge.