Released: 2008, Vraa Music
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Red Gem of Hades (the band name has been taken from a line of Testament´s "Raging Waters" song) is the Twin Cities-based metal project, and as far as the band´s own info letter is concerned that came along with the band´s debut CD titled AGGRESSIVE DISSENSION, these two metal fellows (obviously quite dedicated even), Pat ´Flex´ Young on vocals and Kyle Vraa on guitars, seem to be influenced by many things of metal - from Slayer to Children of Bodom to Maiden. Metal is what unites most of us anyway, so it´s a good thing that brothers and sisters can be able to meet each other through metal music. People getting united by metal, is there any better way to connect people?
When it comes to reality, I have said it before - and I´ll say it again. I have this natural inborn tendency to be quite skeptical about all these one-man or two-man project bands just because, based on my previous experiences with them. Most of them unfortunately haven´t impressed me that much, lacking certain elements that a full band can produce. Pat and Kyle, however, have done a decent job together to make Red Gem of Hades to sound like a fully-fledged band, even if the programmed drums bring a bit of a ´robotic´ effect to this project. The musical style is kinda hard to pinpoint for them that accurately, but they want to call their stuff ´deathy thrash´, or ´thrashy death´, and I guess those two descriptions aren´t that far removed from the truth about their style either.
Actually, listening to Red Gem of Hades, a few band names beg to be compared to them: Usurper, Vore and Master being those three names off the top of my head. Pat´s throaty death grunts are overall well-done and Kyle proves to be quite a guitar virtuoso with his crisp and punishing riffing and pretty well-executed solo work. A lack of bass can clearly be heard from their debut, although Kyle´s heavy guitar lines at least partly make up for some of bass sound´s absence on AGGRESSIVE DISSENSION. What this release would need more, is this certain, may I say, more goal-oriented focus on all these several, tiny pieces of songs so that they could get connected to each other even better. Sometimes one may get a feeling that this duo doesn´t know exactly yet how they want to introduce Red Gem of Hades to people. If they put some more weight on the word ´death´ on their next release musically - and yet even try get bass and real drums recorded for it, I bet that would give a whole different effect on their next outcome.
All in all, Red Gem of Hades is one of these better-than-average project acts that deserves a fair listen, even from the most cynical and skeptical people of us.