Behold this infernal storm of Blackened Thrash Metal by a one-man army from Scotland, heavily inspired by witchcraft and the supernatural while also deeply rooted in his Scottish origins.
Crowned “Scotland’s king of the arcane mosh” by Metal Hammer magazine, Aberdeen-based Blackened Thrash Metal one-man army Hellripper, the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist James McBain (Lock Howl, Lord Rot, Rats of Reality), aims to invoke the quintessential Black N’ Roll sound by mixing influences from classic 80’s Black Metal records with a more modern edge, heavily inspired by witchcraft and the supernatural while also deeply rooted in his Scottish origins, and always using the landscape and historical events as a backdrop for his lyrics and imagery. Now in 2023 it’s time for Hellripper to kill once again with Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags, the project’s third studio album, establishing a new threshold of excellence and raising the bar further over its 2020 album The Affair of the Poisons. Recorded and mixed by James himself at Coronach Studios, mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios, and displaying a sick artwork by Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration, the album is undoubtedly James’ most personal and diverse work to date, bringing the landscapes and legends of the Scottish Highlands to life in a beyond fantastic way.
James wastes no time and begin his sonic massacre in The Nuckelavee, delivering sheer electricity and rage through his riffs and blast beats in a demolishing fusion of Black and Thrash Metal for admirers of the darkest side of music, and the party is just starting as James has endless fuel to burn, bringing to our ears more of his acid roars and riffs in I, The Deceiver, sounding brutal yet very melodic; whereas the title-track Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags, featuring the majestic bagpipes by guest Antonio Rodríguez, blends James’ passion for extreme music with his Scottish roots in a very compelling manner, with his riffs and beats walking hand in hand with his visceral screams. As you all know, a beautiful song name requires an even more beautiful sound, and that’s exactly what James has to offer us all in Goat Vomit Nightmare, being frantic, sulfurous and blasphemous from the very first second, not to mention his thrashing riffs and solos are simply fantastic.
Featuring Joseph Quinlan (Desert Heretic) on lead guitars and additional vocals by Marianne, James takes no prisoners in his quest for violence and blood in The Cursed Carrion Crown, where his vocals get more and more demented as the music progresses, therefore blasting endless aggression for our vulgar delight. Joseph is back in The Hissing Marshes, where it’s impressive how James was able to blend the music by Motörhead and The Exploited to perfection. Moreover, his work on bass and drums is superb throughout the entire song, all spiced up of course by his devilish growling, whereas in Poison Womb (The Curse of the Witch) we face the last guest solo by Joseph, with the music being as fast and infernal as the rest of the album, or in other words an ode to all things 666, or a “lovely” song perfect for a “romantic” moment with your significant other. Last but not least, we’re treated to over eight minutes of pure hell and sulfur titled Mester Stoor Worm, perhaps the most Black Metal of all songs (which is obviously a good thing) where James is yet again spot-on with his screams, riffs and demented beats.
You can enjoy all the fury, speed and energy of the Blackened Thrash Metal played by Hellripper by following James and his Scottish beast on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to his YouTube channel and by streaming his music on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing the phenomenal Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags from his own BandCamp page, from his official EU store as a CD or an LP, or simply by clicking HERE or HERE. Hellripper is absolutely fast, loud and uncompromising, with Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags being a contemporary masterpiece of extreme music that deserves a listen from any living being that enjoys some good old Black Metal with a powerful Rock N’ Roll attitude. So keep calm, listen to the superb new opus by Hellripper, and all hail the goat!
Best moments of the album: Goat Vomit Nightmare, The Cursed Carrion Crown, The Hissing Marshes and Mester Stoor Worm.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2023 Peaceville Records
1. The Nuckelavee 5:47
2. I, The Deceiver 4:55
3. Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags 7:14
4. Goat Vomit Nightmare 3:15
5. The Cursed Carrion Crown 5:47
6. The Hissing Marshes 3:51
7. Poison Womb (The Curse of the Witch) 3:43
8. Mester Stoor Worm 8:31
James McBain – vocals, all instruments
Joseph Quinlan – additional lead guitars on “Poison Womb (The Curse of the Witch)”, “The Cursed Carrion Crown” and “The Hissing Marshes”
Marianne – additional vocals on “The Cursed Carrion Crown”
Antonio Rodríguez – great highland bagpipes on “Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags”