Mpire Of Evil – Hell To The Holy

Reviewed: May 2012
Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

The legacy of Venom still has far reaching implications for bands making music in 2012. This month we look at two bands, each who have former members of Venom, and both of whom have released albums on Scarlet Records this year, namely Mpire Of Evil and Def Con One. Please enjoy my reviews of this pair of albums.

Hot on the heels of their debut EP which came out in late 2011, Mpire of Evil are back with their debut. The EP had four cover tunes and two original compositions and both of those songs, ‘Reptile’ and ‘Creatures of The black’ both showed enormous potential. The covers were fun but the two new songs were just a little taste of what was to come. Neither song made it onto the full-length debut called HELL TO THE HOLY. This ten track, 50-minute album is on Scarlet which is a bit of an odd home for the band of this style.

Mantas, Antton and Demolition Man, all ex-Venom dudes comprise this unholy trinity of musicians. At the time of press, drummer Antton has already left Mpire Of Evil and returned to his own band Def Con One so his tenure was pretty short-lived, and of course you can read my review of the new Def Con One album this month as well. Musical chairs aside, HELL TO THE HOLY is a Metal/Thrash album in the classic style of Venom. What else did you expect?

The album bridges a few styles quite nicely, some heavier and darker songs, some faster songs and some infected with a bit of a rock and roll vibe. For a good example of the later check out the cut ‘Snakepit’ a song about drinking and it is also one of those fun songs that references other bands Iike Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Rainbow. Another cut that has a blues-feel is the song ‘Devil’ with it’s slide guitar opening and sound-effects of being in the swamp, before taking off to the races. The rest of the lyrics are standard venom-esque fair songs about Devils, Hell, Gates and other familiar reference points. The lyrics are barked out by Demolition Man; who sang on three of the lesser-known Venom albums in the late 80’s and early 90’s. His voice is built for Metal.

The production is dark and dirty and the guitars seem mixed a bit low in the mix especially come time for the solos but the main riffs are thick and chewy, I can almost hear where many of the stoner/doom type bands (when they get really fired up) get some of their surging sound from.


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Track Listing:
1. Hellspawn
2. Metal Messiah
3. Waking Up Dead
4. Hell to the Holy
5. Snake Pit
6. All Hail
7. Devil
8. Shockwave
9. The 8th Gate
10. M-pire (Prelude)

Demolition Man Vocals, Bass
Mantas Guitars
Antton Drums