Reviewed: April 2004
Released: 2003, Independent
Over the course of my 4+ years of reviewing as a member of the Metal-Rules staff, it’s safe to say that I’ve heard a lot of different, often bizarre things. However, after hearing this, I can now confess to hearing utter insanity recorded onto plastic. I have never heard anything quite like this before and likely never will again. Pure Sweet Hell is a side project of Nevermore’s Van Williams and New York-based friend Christ. As you might have gathered from my hackneyed opening, this album is quite strange and difficult to pin down.
Though this is technically an independent release, it sounds anything but, being firmly produced and tightly played (what do you expect from a guy of Van’s caliber?). The music is an eccentric mix of Nevermore, death metal, black metal, rock, and sadly, mallcore. However, the mallcore elements on this album go over a little bit better than they would on, say a Nevermore album, simply because the music contained on here is so unique.
Mostly grinding around in at medium speeds, the songs rarely ever reach pure headbanging euphoria, though there are some that come close, namely the more vicious ones like “Take Away” and “Innocence and the Beast” as well as the dissonance of “Beautiful Suicide”.
Van does all of the vocals himself though some guy named Jim Colson helps out on a couple of tracks. Vans’ vocals are actually quite impressive as he pulls off a successful chameleon act, switching from death growls to singing to spoken words effortlessly. This is even more impressive I think because he is somewhat faceless in Nevermore, that band being dominated by Warrel Dane.
This is a truly weird release, and one that I’m sure will go over the heads of most listeners who dare to enter this Hell. Then again, I’m not sure that these guys care much. I mean, how could you, given that you’ve crafted such a monstrosity? This is recommended for the more adventurous metalheads out there.
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