The ugliest band of the planet is back in the scene. OK, BLESSED DEATH have not really returned, but at least the worldwide union of bangers now can also enjoy their third album “Hour Of Pain”. After the loss of their Megaforce deal, the band still released some live tapes and the “Terminal Rage” demo, but they never managed to find a new contract and then they called it quits
But now we have their third effort that had been recorded in 1991 and released on their own in 2006. Recorded with a more powerful production, but not really oozing with oomph, compared to the first two releases, “Hour Of Pain” is a real enrichment of any Power Metal lunatic’s collection. And with Power Metal I do not mean faceless HELLOWEEN plagiarists, but bands such as TYRANT (US), METAL CHURCH, DAMMAJ... So much for that. The new BLESSED DEATH opus hits the gas pedal less often than before, but the very heavy and very dark material will stomp you into the ground and let you gasp for air. Singer Larry Portelli also sounds more accessible than in the past, but I do miss his high, venomous cries. Here and there you will still get these evil vocal attacks, but not often enough.
Here the band worked a lot with undistorted guitars and doomy parts, but also injected some very fast outbursts, so variety is not the problem, even though you will have to invest some time, since the material is somewhat bulky. I also miss a really big hit such as “Pig Slaughter”, but instead the songs all stand on the same high level. And until the end the songs inch closer and closer to the style of their debut “Kill Or Be Killed”, so that should be the last nudge the diehard fan needs to buy this, wanna bet?
(Online January 8, 2011)