Released: 2000, Howling Bull Entertainment Inc.
Heavy metal hardcore from Japan! Weren’t expecting that were ya? Sporting one of the coolest album covers that I have ever seen, Hellchild has raged forth with a kickass new album, BareSkin. You’d think that any band that thanks Bongzilla and Brutal Truth in their liner notes would play some sort of swamp-ridden crustcore. Well, you’d be wrong. Hellchild sounds more like an angry N.Y. hardcore act crossed playing death metal with the better groove sensibilities of Pantera. There, I said it, Pantera. Can we move on now? Actually, the only real similarity between Hellchild and The P-men is Tsukasa Harakawa’s vocals; imagine vintage Anselmo doing a death growl. The comparison ends there though, ‘cause Hellchild could make Pantera run and hide!
This ten-song monster of an album is fairly short (36 minutes), but packs quite a wallop! Right from the opening chords of “Self-Scorn”, the band hit the gas and don’t let up until “Another Kind Of Slavery” has left your ears ringing in pain. This is angry, angry music and it is the perfect backdrop to the raging and soul-searching lyrics of Harakawa. Example: “Eat up dreams one after another/You, living dead/Feel pride, anger, and sorrow/At your existence as yourself.”, from “Single Color Of Myself”. Pretty cool, no?
While this is a good album, it does tend to fall into the most common pitfall of hardcore music – sameness. Sometimes, the songs on BareSkin blow by and you don’t realize that you’ve just listened to three songs. Why? Because they often sounds the same. Still, this is a great album, and anyone into this style of metal should look ‘em up. The best criticism I can give of this album is this: I don’t usually like hardcore, but I love this album!