Make no mistake about it – Poland has a lot of offer when it comes to extreme metal, and especially the Polish death metal scene seems to be flourishing, spawning a horde of brutal bands to wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting world. One of these bands is Hellspawn whose latest effort is entitled The Great Red Dragon.
Like many other Polish death metal bands these days, Hellspawn embrace the more brutal end of the death metal genre, and thus you are treated to aggressive riffs and blastbeats galore, all wrapped in a compact and brutal production. However, Hellspawn seem to be taking a more retrospective approach, making use of several more old school elements. And this is, in my book, definitely a very positive thing, as it means that the album features a lot of awesome and strong riffs, many of which have an almost death-thrashy feel to them, and fans of bands like Morbid Angel (before they went industrial) and Carcass (before they went melodic). In addition to strong riffs and songs which, true to the genre, feature many changes, another plus it the guitar solos which come across as being quite melodic in comparison to the brutality of the songs that they appear in.
On the downside, I think that there are perhaps too many blastbeats, and that many of the riffs would be more strongly presented had they been accompanied by more thrashy drumbeats, as they would allow the listener to appreciate the rhythmic aspects of said riffs. And this is underlined by the riffs that are accompanied by other types of drum beats on the album, because here things work very well. Another related downside is the drumming itself, which at times sounds very mechanical – especially the drum fills seem to lack any form of dynamics, which I personally think is a shame, as these fills disturb my listening experience a lot.
But all in all, The Great Red Dragon is a massive death metal effort which captures the strength of old school death metal riffage and the aggression and chaos of brutal death metal and death-grind. It should, with its 27 minutes of metal mayhem. definitely appeal to death metal aficionados of various persuasions.Tracklisting:
1. The First Banner in the Fields of Devil
2. Words Becomes Flesh
5. The Great Red Dragon
6. Intro to the Revelation
7. Revelation of the Red Dragon
8. The Dice are Cast
9. The Greatest King among Demon
10. An Obelisk of the World