This Is Hell - Weight of the World (Cover Artwork)

This Is Hell

Weight of the World (2010)


Of all the musical genres prone to stagnation, the classic fusion of hardcore and metal is perhaps the most widespread. No matter how heavy the breakdowns, how fast the drums or how passionate the live show, so few such bands seem to really stick in one's mind, let alone produce a 12" record worth listening to all the way through.

Thank goodness that, despite a wait and what I felt was an overly dense second record, 2008's Misfortunes, This Is Hell have produced perhaps the best heavy album of the year in Weight of the World. What makes this so enjoyable, as I may have hinted, is its diversity and variety throughout--no elements have a chance to get boring, be they the sombre strings of "Eagle of Justice," the shout-along breakdown at the end of "Shadows" or the beat-driven thrash in "Death of World Class." Also of note are the band's newfound love for guitar solos, which fortunately never outstay their welcome. This is a trait apparently here to stay, as it was prevalent on last year's Warbirds EP (from which Weight of the World lifts both "The Search" and "Worship Syndrome").

These guys have been touring like crazy since they formed, and aside from record label troubles, have clearly put everything they have, creatively and emotionally, into this record. However, where some bands overstretch themselves in trying to do too much, This Is Hell hold their collection of songs together with Travis Reilly's trademark desperate yell, and the rest of the band's tight and heavy-but-not-too-heavy sound. Lineup changes since Misfortunes have resulted in the group becoming a four-piece, freeing up founding guitarist Rick Jimenez and creating an altogether leaner, more aggressive approach. While akin to their self-titled EP and Sundowning album, Weight of the World fuses this frantic American Nightmare-esque approach with more metal influences like Anthrax, Warzone and the mighty Cro-Mags.

Hopefully, this third effort is the one to finally push This Is Hell to the top of the hardcore heap--where they belong.