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HELLSCREAM Hate Machine

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 @ 1:24 PM


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HELLSCREAM
Hate Machine

2019 Pure Steel Records




Southern California’s HELLSCREAM is the brainchild of NIVIANE/IMAGIKA vocalist Norman Skinner and guitarist David Garcia (CAGE/THREE TREMORS). Rounding out the lineup is Alex Pickard (bass), Sean Elg (drums) and Casey Trask (guitars), all from CAGE. Hate Machine is the band’s follow-up to the 2013 debut, Made Immortal.

The album opens with a blistering tale of a demonic force walking the earth on “There Will Be Blood”. This is a strong opening track, and the speed metal/thrash attack is most welcome to these ears. Tons of double bass flowing from Elg’s drums, and fast and furious riffs from Pickard, Garcia and Trask shoot right out of the gate. The next track, “Firestarter”, keeps that theme going with great success.

“Weight Of The World” opens with lead guitar and finds the guitar working in tandem with the vocals throughout most of the song. Skinner’s delivery on the chorus here is outstanding, hitting several high notes that make the song work. Skinner’s vocals alter between the upper and lower registers with powerful effect, reminding me of Matt Barlow (ICED EARTH) on occasion. He adds some falsetto here and there, particularly on the dungeon tale ”Oubliette” and deeper cut “Zero Recall”. These are probably my overall favorite tracks on Hate Machine. “Zero Recall” explores memory loss due to severe head trauma, and Skinner’s growls, howls and spoken words get the point across.

“Slaves of The Sand” imagines life under the whip as a slave in ancient Egypt, while the title track “Hate Machine” explores organized religion. One of my favorite solos can be found on the next track, “Another Angel Down”. Revenge story “Payback” tricks the listener with a solemn intro, before blasting off into a nice angry, thrash/speed metal attack and never looking back. “Blood Rite” is an aggressive track, which finds Skinner hitting some of the higher notes on Hate Machine. The album closes with the Jekyll and Hyde-themed “Wake The Demon” and the topical “Generation Kill”, which echoes recent tragic events.

These songs (all written by Garcia and Skinner) show how skilled these musicians are. Hate Machine is laser-focused, and filled with a good amount of groove. David Garcia’s guitar work on Hate Machine is fantastic, and he has composed many memorable riffs here. HELLSCREAM surprisingly doesn’t sound too much like CAGE or NIVIANE, which is a good thing. Of course, there are some similarities, and Hate Machine should appeal to fans of both bands, as well as bands like ICED EARTH and EVERGREY. The overall dark theme and vibe of Hate Machine, combined with its heavy mix, really propels the album to the next level. I like this album as much as Made Immortal. There are 12 songs at a total time of around 50 minutes; most of these songs are in the three to five minute range in length. Hate Machine is available now from Pure Steel Records. You can listen to an album preview HERE.

4.5 Out OF 5.0


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