If you thought Crowbar’s “Sever the Wicked Hand” was the shoe-in champ for “Most Vicious American Metal Album of 2011,” you might be well served by staying your judgment for a moment and taking a listen to this.
Sometimes, music is powerful enough that it can evoke mental images in the listener’s mind. While listening to Indestructible Noise Command’s “Heaven Sent, Hellbound,” a few pictures were clearly conjured in my brain. In no particular order, this album could be used as the soundtrack for:
1) A low-altitude napalm carpet bombing
2) A shotgun-wielding bank robbery
3) Two mid-1970’s American V-8’s unleashed into a high-impact head-on collision.
Once the seeming heirs to metal’s throne (Pantera used to open for them,) INC dropped completely off the radar after the celebrated release of 1988’s “The Visitor.” Reborn in the fires of New York’s historically temperamental metal scene, INC is back in 2011 with “Heaven Sent, Hellbound,” a physically exhausting album that contains no subtlety and leaves nothing on the table.
“Heaven Sent, Hellbound” is an exercise in nonstop musical pummeling. The album is an ‘anything goes’ affair, sacrificing precision and acuity for battery and aural assault. The trade results in an album that borders dangerously on repetitive, but wastes absolutely zero time with frills or gimmicks, and maximizes its own destructive potential.
The multi-phased “Swallowed” is testament alone to the band’s mentality. The song is at moments steeped in heavy blues riffing, and in others given to flights of crunchy guitar virtuosity. How the pieces fit is less important that what the pieces are. So long as they can be linked with a rumbling percussive cadence, the rest will fall into place.
Single “God Loves Violence” is a blistering comeback statement from a band who says they are upset with the carbon copy neo-thrash bands flooding the scene. The song is unstoppable and irrepressibly hammering; it’s the musical equivalent of being fed a mouthful of razors and then being punched in the jaw.
Throw a dart haphazardly at “Heaven Sent, Hellbound,” and you’re bound to get the idea. Whether it’s the straightforward, screaming “Full Metal Jacket,” or the thundering “Rain” (featuring a high-flying solo from Bumblefoot,) this album is an unforgiving, unrelenting display of sheer metal muscle.
The only moment on “Heaven Sent, Hellbound” that lets you breathe at all is the intro track “Jackboot Thugbots.” However, since the song is only ninety-six seconds long, you don’t get a lot of time to relax. Beginning with “Fist of Fascista,” and ending with “Fueled By Regret,” the record shatters the door, storms your ears and takes no prisoners whatsoever.
“Heaven Sent, Hellbound” is a gloriously desperate, deliciously violent, wonderfully in-your-face effort that can disrupt your thinking (to the point where I had to stop listening to it to write this review,) make you crush your brain against the front of your skull, and probably raise your blood pressure without you moving.
SOME WORDS OF CAUTION: Be careful with this album. You know that giant guy at the end of the bar who keeps eyeing your girlfriend? This album will stoke your warrior fires enough to make you think you can beat the holy crap out of that guy. In reality, you probably still can’t. Deep breaths.
INC’s new effort is both a powerful statement and stark reminder; the former because it raises the standard for what would be considered thrash in the modern era. The latter because it makes us all remember what true thrash was, is and could be again.
Bottom line, Indestructible Noise Command is back. Enjoy it.