Album Review – Hell-Born / Natas Liah (2021)

After 12 years, one of Poland’s most devilish Black and Death Metal hordes returns with a brand new opus that darkly represents everything they have always been and more.

When some bands return from long years of silence, they unfortunately bring disappointment and a tarnishing of their reputation with them, while others bring a glorious shattering of the silence, a fulfilling of hopes and surpassing of expectations in mighty and imperious fashion, which is exactly the case with Sopot, Poland’s own Black/Death Metal veterans Hell-Born. Disciples of their devil’s work can rejoice, as these Polish masters of Black, Death and Thrash Metal have never sounded more accomplished and powerful than in their newborn opus Natas Liah, a towering edifice of darkness and extreme music brought into being by vocalist and bassist Baal Ravenlock (Behemoth’s co-founder), guitarist Les (also a former musician of Behemoth) and drummer Diabolizer over 12 years after the release of their previous effort Darkness. Recorded at Creme de la Creme Studio and mixed and mastered by Haldor Grunberg (known for his collaboration with Behemoth and Blaze Of Perdition) at Satanic Audio, Natas Liah is everything that Hell-Born have always been and more, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the devilish music blasted by Venom, Vader, Behemoth and Sodom, among many others.

A brief spoken intro explodes into a bestial feast of Black and Death Metal in When You Are God, where its solid instrumental pieces are spiced up by Baal’s deep guttural vocals. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded rawer nor more devilish than what it already is, kicking off the album ruthlessly. Then even more infernal than the opening tune, Axis of Decay brings to our ears classic Black Metal infused with Death Metal elements, with Diabolizer sounding truly menacing with his blast beats accompanied by Les’ evil riffage, resulting in a song perfect for darkening our thoughts and souls for all eternity, followed by Ye Olde Woods Devil, presenting a mid-tempo, headbanging sonority masterfully crafted by the trio where the drums by Diabolizer and the bass punches by Baal will undoubtedly make your head tremble, sounding and feeling very rhythmic and at the same time primeval from start to finish. And featuring a guitar solo by guest Jacek Langowski (from Holy Smoke), Uroboros is another vicious devastation by Hell-Born showcasing Diabolizer’s spot-on drums and the always venomous riffs by Les, living up to the legacy of Polish extreme music.

After such bestial attack, guest Jacek “Jeff” Kubiak (from Damnation) provides a strident guitar solo in The Butcher, offering us all more of their incendiary fusion of Black, Death and Thrash Metal, with Baal sounding even more infuriated than before with his gruesome gnarls. Baal’s rumbling bass and Diabolizer’s pounding drums keep hammering our heads in Son of Earth, with Les bringing a humongous dosage of darkness to the music with his fiery guitar, and there’s no sign of slowing down for those Polish metallers as they keep darkening the skies with their furious music in In God’s Death, where the classic riffs by Les are boosted by the melodic but at the same time violent drumming by Diabolizer. Putting the pedal to the metal, the band explodes our senses with the Stygian and straightforward Soulrape, showcasing their usual dementia and obscurity led by the always demonic growling by Baal, before all hell breaks loose in the infernal closing tune Blakk Metal, featuring guest vocals by Behemoth’s one and only mastermind Adam “Nergal” Darski. Not only the background keys bring an additional touch of evil to the overall result, but Nergal’s trademark roars make it even more thrilling, turning it into what’s by far my favorite of all songs, or in other words, a lesson in modern-day Blackened Death Metal.

As already mentioned, Natas Liah might be Hell-Born’s most demolishing and obscure album in their solid career since the band’s inception in the distant year of 1996, proving some bands definitely know how to make an impactful and meaningful comeback form the pits of the underworld. Hence, don’t forget to follow those veterans from hell on Facebook, and to support them in their quest for extreme music by purchasing their sulfurous new album from their own BandCamp page or from the Odium Records’ webstore as a 6-panel digipack CD with a 16-page booklet or as a deluxe wooden box edition limited to 40 copies containing a vinyl version of the album, the 6-panel digipack CD with a 16-page booklet, a t-shirt, a patch, a button and a sticker. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to grab your copy of such insane album? Go for it, raise your horns and… HAIL SATAN!

Best moments of the album: Axis of Decay, The Butcher and Blakk Metal.

Worst moments of the album: Son of Earth.

Released in 2021 Odium Records

Track listing
1. When You Are God 4:59
2. Axis of Decay 4:50
3. Ye Olde Woods Devil 5:31
4. Uroboros 6:01
5. The Butcher 5:39
6. Son of Earth 4:52
7. In God’s Death 5:31
8. Soulrape 3:05
9. Blakk Metal 4:46

Band members
Baal Ravenlock – vocals, bass
Les – guitars
Diabolizer – drums

Guest musicians
Nergal – vocals on “Blakk Metal”
Jacek Langowski – lead guitars on “Uroboros”
Jeff – lead guitars on “The Butcher”

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