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Friends of Hell – Friends of Hell

Label: Rise Above Records / Release date: 18th March 2022
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One glance at the album cover, band name and song titles pretty much sets the stage for what the debut album from Friends of Hell is about.

What we get here is stoner infused doom with that 70’s retro feel, and influences of Black Sabbath and Kyuss all over the place. The members also add the influences of their other bands into this project, menaning that there is plenty to get for the fans of Electric Wizard, Opium Warlords, Satan’s Wrath, Mercury Gates etc. as well.

Sonically we are on familiar grounds as well, meaning that the production is crunchy and hazy, but with rather fine distinction between instruments. The overall sound is rather strong, taking that 70’s psych rock sound and adopting it to 2022 effortlessly.

Musically this fairly straight-forward riff-based rocking doom, with catchy melodies and thunderous distorted bass. Additional guitar soundscapes and vocals effects add atmosphere to the overall sonic experience, and while they might be subtle, they are also rather important.

Interplay between riffs and melodies ads to the catchiness of material, like in seriously infectious “Orion’s Beast”, “Shadow of the Impaler” and “Gateless Gate”. The catchy aspect of the band’s music is also present on more epic tunes like the closer “Wallachia” and the title track.

At times things get too silly like on “Into My Coffin”, but hey, looking at that cover artwork again – the puerile humour had to be part of the music as well.

Overall, the debut from Friends of Hell, delivers what it promises, and it does so unapologetically – for better or worse. Mostly for better.

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