Scottish one-man band. A sentence that conjures up visions of pill-box hatted obscurant Ivor Cutler in your correspondent’s cider-addled brain but which is, in reality, even more chilling.
The brainchild of multi- instrumentalist James McBain, Hellripper are not a harmonium-driven novelty; they appear to exist only to celebrate the halcyon days when black and thrash metal were essentially the same thing in the mid eighties, with names like Whiplash, Razor or Onslaught frequently flickering across the consciousness as McBain goes about his retroactive schtick.
You’ll get more modern names too as you listen – particularly Midnight and Toxic Holocaust, and the final washup is something that should be rather palatable at least in part to both old and young thrashers alike. Me? well, I’m an old thrasher, obviously, but I’m damned if I can finger a single point on the album that I didn’t actively enjoy. Maybe not to the point of launching myself off the Welsh dresser onto the dining room table as once might have happened, but when the first buzzsaw riff of opener The Affair of The Poisons opened up it was a close run thing; similarly if the ripping Teutonic attack of Savage Blasphemy doesn’t excite you to acts of stupidity in your living room then it’s entirely possible you should be seeking you pleasure in albums of a less vibrant nature.
Weighing in at a tick under half an hour, the eight tracks here don’t have an ounce of fat on them, but they are rammed to the gunwhales with fantastic, if very retro, thrills and spills. McBain has a simple modus operandi – thrash til death – but even within that limited theatre of operations he shows of a wealth of skill and imagination. This is simple, but brutally effective stuff but you’ll last every last second, I promise you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice doing an air guitar version of the solo to Blood Orgy of the She-Devils…
The Affair of the Poisons is out now.