Hellmouth - Demo '08 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Demo '08 (2008)


Hellmouth sure ain't fuckin' around. Grim visuals of skulls and snakes adorn the insert accompanying this demo, as well as this unfamiliar picture. Dude to the far right looks stoked. If one was to judge the proverbial book by its cover, one might assume based on this evidence that the music of Hellmouth is dark, brooding, aggressive, pissed off, what have you. Truth is, these dudes wear cardigan sweaters onstage and play some of the most jangly indie pop this side of Sub Pop.

Save your scoffs, I'm totally fucking with you.

So maybe Hellmouth are a gang of disenfranchised, bitter dudes from a disenfranchised, bitter place like Detroit. They infuse punk, hardcore and metal to create a sound that could be described as 'organized chaos,' but I'd just describe as 'really fucking good.' Jay Navarro -- he sung for the Suicide Machines, you might've heard of them -- has never sounded so angry and is at times downright demonic in his vocal delivery. And the band assembled around him fits his demeanor like a well-worn pair of jeans.

The opening track is "Praying for Plague," a cute little number that begins with a quick bass solo before descending into a full-bore attack with Navarro growling, "We live like we're already dead!" Don't let my mention of double bass lead you astray -- shit's brutal, but not br00tal, know what I mean? The speed of the music anchored by the drumming is more punk-infused than metalcore-laden, thankfully.

"Oblivion & Utopia" has a cool duality, alternating between quick-as-shit verses and devastatingly heavy bridges in between them -- think High on Fire roughly covering something off Side B of My War and you'd be close. "Overtime in a Shark Cage" lives up to its awesome title, with a breakdown that puts forth a killer groove without overstaying its welcome. And the opening riff of "Blackest of Voids" would've made the late Dimebag Darrell proud. And about that whole demonic vocal approach I mentioned? The last minute or so of "God's Forgotten Children" is mainly what I was alluding to.

With four talented and proficient players seamlessly wetting their beaks in three intense genres of music, there's a lot to get excited about here. Hellmouth have crafted a sound that's raw and dynamic, and hopefully this demo is just a taste of the impending brutality.