Released: 2009, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
NWOBHM. It basically all started from there, I mean if we want to refer to the times when heavy metal was young, innocent and fresh. It all started from bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Saxon, etc., followed soon by bands like Satan, Witchfinder General, Gloven Hoof, Blitzkrieg, Jaguar, Savage, etc. - just tons of other bands more - and not only bands from England but also bands from all other places of the world as well.
Around 30 years later, NWOBHM has been found again by a new generation of true metal warriors, as if it would have disappeared totally somewhere. Nowadays it´s bands like Portrait, Armour, Enforcer, Witchtiger, In Solitude, Cast Iron, Speedtrap and the like, that try to keep their flags high for the NWOBHM sound – now including also Gothenburg-based Helvetets Port whose debut album, EXODUS TO HELL, has now been released by both German High Roller Records (as vinyl) and Pure Steel Records (as CD, with bonuses).
EXODUS TO HELL is basically all about going back to the roots of the NWOBHM sound – no more, or no less. The guys of Helvetets Port sound deceptively like true pioneers of the genre, like they could have been doing their stuff for many years already – right from the early 80´s. Helvetets Port read the early 80s formula of NWOBHM sound like the Holy Bible; without over-exaggerating or over-coloring things but just telling the truth as it has originally been written and spoken out (note: Nothing to do with my views about that book full of mumbo-jumbo) – or in their case, churned out from their own instruments. Actually it´s really funny yet kinda so weird at the very same time when you listen to this album, it brings out so many familiar resemblances from those past NWOBHM times – be it the first 2 Maiden albums, some late 70´s Judas Priest, Witchfinder General, whatever really that does have that early 80´s feel and vibe in them all. And whenever the band´s vocalist, by his fitting nickname ´Witchfinder´, uses his native language Swedish for the songs to sing about pleasures in the wonderland of heavy metal, it always seems to pop out the Swedish metal pioneers Heavy Load´s name back in my mind in some peculiar way. Maybe just because they come from Sweden, I do not know.
EXODUS TO HELL is nothing but pure embracing of the early NWOBHM style, done really masterfully, amazingly convincing way - and obviously straight through the hearts of the guys in Helvetes Port. There´s nothing fake in their sound, and that´s why it is also very easy to like this album. Absolutely very recommended stuff here for all the fans of that NWOBHM style that we all should love and adore without any reservations. Just get this – and become amazed positively!