Portuguese thrashers Black Hill Cove only formed in 2020, but you’d have trouble guessing that after listening to their new album Broken. In fact far from being ‘broken’, they sound in pretty rude health on bellicose blasters like Kill The Beast!

The trio don’t bring a lot of variety or indeed originality to the party, but that’s not entirely the point. The band hit rather more at the visceral level, where it’s more important to move the listener’s innards through the sheer power of their riffs rather than appealing to more aesthetic values. The blunt heaviness of Hole in the Head is a case in point.

They do have their melodic moments, often built around the slightly off kilter vocals of Rui FAC; Usually pitched somewhere between names you’ll recognise like Blythe and Anselmo, he occasionally goes off at a slight tangent vocally. On third track The Wolf this allows the song to take wings in an unexpected fashion, adding a different dimension the band’s sound, whilst on following track Broken Pieces he varies things again with a more straightforward melodic approach that pays big dividends. The band’s hardcore influences shine through on Standing Alone where again the ‘shouty’ vocal approach breaks things up nicely.

Nuno Aguiar de Loureiro occasionally breaks out of his riff-enforced straightjacket to add some neat lead work to the BHC stew; closing instrumental track O Tempo Não Volta Atrás in particular hints at what the man is capable of, but again most of the music here is not really about showing off or personal virtuoso dexterity. Black Hill Cove are all about hitting hard, and they do that often and very effectively on this album.

Broken releases on November 5th.