Remember "Ghostbusters II"? The river of slime that flowed underneath New York City in that movie was the ol' emotion-absorbing kind; when shown benevolence, it could make a toaster dance or The Statue of Liberty walk. But whenever bad vibes were present, the slime would do horrible, horrible things, like causing a mink coat to fucking come to life or conjuring up the lost souls of the Titanic. Well, in 2009, the setting is the decrepit barracks of Detroit, Hellmouth is the slime and their blistering debut. Destroy Everything. Worship Nothing., is the product of extreme malevolence.
For the record, I'm not calling the dudes in Hellmouth slime -- just comparing them to fictional movie slime. Which is way better, trust me.
Hellmouth is a band that claims to blur the lines between metal, hardcore and punk. Yeah, we've all heard that one before, haven't we? Usually bands that describe themselves as such are truthfully mediocre metalcore bands, with songs high on guitar squeals, double bass and breakdowns and low on substance and reality. Punk fuckin' rock, man. Oddly enough, though, the metal, hardcore and punk line-blurring description fits here. There's a near-perfect balance of elements lifted from each respective genre, creating a sound that's extremely aggressive and surprisingly original.
For those not in the know, Jason Navarro is the vocalist for Hellmouth. Yeah, that same dude from the Suicide Machines who wrote a jangly pop-rock song about his dog many years ago is now waxing misanthropic with the best of them. Lyrics aren't even necessary, really; merely looking at the song titles is all one must do to get an idea of where Navarro and the rest of Hellmouth have been and where they're going. It ain't pretty, to say the least.
The opening 1-2 punch of "Pick a Coffin" and "Overtime in a Shark Cage" start things off menacingly enough, the former beginning with a death metal-esque barrage of drums and the latter being built around a heavy groove, each featuring monstrous riffs and plenty of speed. "Shark Cage" and "Pawnshop St. Christopher" both have foundations in hardcore, with fast drumming and guitar work being the order of the day. Same for "Praying For Plague" and "God's Forgotten Children," the latter anchored by a vocal performance from Navarro that sounds like it was recorded in the seventh level of Hell.
Heaviness is brought to uranium-like levels on "Blackest of Voids," a mid-tempo song with riffs and chord progressions that would've made the late Dimebag Darrell proud. The speed picks up on "Dust," where a combination of thunderous drumming and more open chords are utilized to bring the heavy, while "Crooked Teeth" has a sound more rooted in thrash, right down to the cymbal crashes and rapid riffs.
Hellmouth branch out somewhat on closing track "The Masters Have Poisoned the Slaves," a slow, sludgy track that's by far the heaviest song on Destroy Everything. Worship Nothing. There's even an organ playing underneath the verses! How metal is that? It's not a bad song per se, but after the lightning-in-a-bottle urgency that the band captured in the previous 13 tracks, this song feels twice as long as it actually is (and it's already nearly seven minutes long). But even that's grasping for straws; there's just not a whole lot about this record to dislike. To put it simply, it fucking shreds.