Original black metal band Hellhammer created droning primitive music to create an atmosphere of evil, founding a generation of black metal bands. This same lineup continued as Celtic Frost, playing more death metal styled black metal.

Apocalyptic Raids

Production: Advanced garage production preserves textural character of instrumental voices as well as intensity of noisy discharge created by composition ideals.

Review: Innovation that could scarcely be recognized as such, Hellhammer crafted metal from broken elements of extremely minimalist metal and punk songs, building an environment of intensity through engagingly simple rhythms which carried confrontational basic viral conflit to its conclusion. Take for example the three-chord epic Massacra and the realm of implication created through its primitive, crudely appropriate atmosphere.

Guitar drones through simple riffs taking the riding style of Motorhead and applying it to dark and conclusive yet indefinite chord progressions to generate the most granular dark riffs possible. These are repeated in piece variations on the verse chorus structure, with the genius of Hellhammer being how to use two-chord variations of major riffs to hold down sizeable structural territory in each song.


1. The Third of the Storms (Evoked Damnation) (2:55)
2. Massacra (2:49)
3. Triumph of Death (9:30)
4. Horus/Aggressor (4:27)
5. Revelations of Doom (2:49)
6. Messiah (4:33)
Length: 27:20

Tracks 1-4: Taken from Apocalyptic Raids demo
Tracks 5-6: Previously released on Death Metal sampler.

hellhammer apocalyptic raids on noise records 1985
Copyright © 1985 Noise

Vocals are over-the-top, gasped out and dramatized performance that adds a nature of ludicrousness to this paradox: a rock n roll uptempo cruising surflike environment spawns the vile wretching of darkness, evident and obscure simultaneously. Simple rock style percussion contains subsections of song divided by guitar variation, with droning counterpoints emphasizing peaks of slowness.

Like much of the black metal to follow it, this is merciless material that will repeat simple themes for effect in seemingly interminable meta-phrases. Its weird structures support simplicity and rise to complexity as contrasted with increasingly oppositional internal mirrors of other major song themes, layered in the mind as the shifting verse-chorus patterns passing through with characteristic black metal bridges using punk-style rhythms to carry through a power chord connection.

Much of the ideas here innovated the changes in black metal to come: the tempo changes taking bouncing energy into dark battery, elemental connective structures bent from two two finger chords, methods of alternating riff variations, and the infectious rhythm of virus brought from drone to almost hardcore punk levels of reactive energy.

hellhammer satanic rites
1. Intro (0:59)
2. Messiah (4:25)
3. Third of the Storms (3:07)
4. Buried And Forgotten (6:07)
5. Maniac (3:51)
6. Euronymous (3:12)
7. Triumph of Death (7:04)
8. Revelations of Doom (3:08)
9. Reaper (2:33)
10. Satanic Rites (7:20)
11. Crucifixion (2:49)
12. Unknown (2:02)
Length: 46:39
Satanic Rites (Hellhammer Maniac Records 2000)
Live (from the bathroom) in Switzerland Dec. 1983. A view into the developmental minimalism of Hellhammer, this live recording preserves a fuller range of their early efforts than official sources, showing a band with a flatter, more nullified sense of lead guitar tone and inflection of rhythm playing; this perhaps reveals many of the hardcore punk stylistic influences in this band. Components of "Triumph of Death" may be found in their original granular status along with a high-energy primitive hardcore version of the song by the same name, as well as ideas in riff texture later to appear on Celtic Frost albums crop up here. The delayed sense of delivery and range of concept even appearing on the final Hellhammer EP is underdeveloped here, showing raw ideas in a jumble of presentation order not yet clear. As the back of the CD says, "This record is for Hellhammer maniacs only" - or other assiduous students of black metal.

BLACK   |   DEATH   |   HEAVY   |   SPEED   |   THRASH   |   GRINDCORE

Copyright © 1988-2004 the Dark Legions Archive