Formed in 2007 in Kansas City, MO, Hellevate is a Thrash Metal band that loves to push the boundaries and fuse in newer methods to create their own sound. 2023 will see the release of their fourth EP, The Purpose Of Cruelty. After some trials in the past, they’ve solidified their strongest lineup and are looking forward to moving ahead with plans for world domination. They’ve shared the stage with Thrash legends Kreator, Exodus, and Overkill, just to name a few. After hearing this one, the future looks bright indeed.
- Robert Browne – Vocals
- Dan Whitmer – Guitars
- Joshua Cole – Guitars
- Zack Burke – Bass
- RJ Whitmer – Drums
January 14, 2023
- The Purpose Is Cruelty
- Buried Under Mistakes
- Die Or Be Killed
- (No) Further Action Is Required
The disc opens with the title track, “The Purpose Is Cruelty.” It starts with ominous keyboard tones, reminiscent of early Ozzy (think the first two albums). Spoken word then sets up the song by informing us that all Gods are cruel and love sending pain. They wouldn’t be worshipped without instilling fear, the most divine emotion known to humankind. This is one of the best intros I have heard in a long time.
When the song’s main body kicks in, it does so with a heavy riff and killer rhythm. Dan and Joshua work really well together, creating a wall of sound with their dual guitar attack. Zack is fun to hear when the guitars drop out, throwing down an excellent bass phrase while RJ goes off on the drums. Gritty, distorted vocals round out the primary sound, giving Hellevate more of an Exodus/Testament-style Thrash sound. You can hear the old-school influence, but you also hear the new attitude and technology, so you get a good mix of generations of Thrash Metal.
“Dagon” opens with a chugging riff that is freaking fun to hear. Robert’s voice fits the attitude and tone of the band beautifully. The harsh vocals underneath him add to the brutality of the track. The drums are fast and have a lot of excellent runs/fills that add a lot of texture to the track. The guitar leads and fills, offset from the drum fills, taking the song to new heights. For some reason, the opening riff of “Buried Under Mistakes” reminds me a bit of “Mr. Scary,” probably my favorite piece of guitar work George Lynch (ex-Dokken, Lynch Mob) has ever done. The rest of the song is wildly different, but there is that quick memory…
“Die Or Be Killed” has a cool riff. The bass thunders along, in time, with the riff when necessary and the bass drum when the guitars decide to run around for solo time. The drum pattern is fabulous, and I had a lot of fun just listening to that and imagining how easy it would be to get the feet crossed up if you were as bad a drummer as I am. I also like the incremental tempo increase they do between verses. That takes a lot of skill to slowly advance the timing like that. This whole song is awe-inspiring.
The intro’s spoken word leading into “(No) Further Action Is Required” is what you hear just before the overlords lose control of everything and the revolution breaks through the barriers. The heaviness of the rhythm gives a sonic feel to the angst the lyrics describe. The song has everything it needs to fuel the fight for the rebels, heavy bass to propel the forces and drums to inspire the violence necessary to ensure victory. The guitar work is eloquent and incredibly tight. The lead trade-offs are spot on, hitting at just the point and keeping the listener on their toes.
Hellevate is a new voice in Thrash Metal. Bordering on Speed Metal with the fury of Thrash, they take their music to the next level, going faster and heavier than their forefathers and many of their contemporaries. The tempos and tunings are excellent, going faster and harder than most, driving hard, and ensuring you know they mean business. In only five songs, Hellevate has placed its stamp on the future of Thrash Metal and proclaimed to the world they are ready to dominate.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.60