Five years ago, an excellent EP by a then unknown, one-man blackened speed act out of Scotland came across the wires, and although the Manifestation of Evil EP was roughhewn and feral, it also displayed great promise through its unrelenting, unabashed approach to the traditional style of metal. Since then, Hated One Metal Reviews has kept tabs on the ambitious man from Aberdeen, James McBain – better known as Hellripper – and we haven’t been alone, either.
After independently releasing a spate of splits, a compilation, an LP, and even more splits from 2015 to 2018, Hellripper’s insane work ethic and prolific output finally found some small label support through the Ohio-based Reaper Metal Productions, who backed McBain’s second EP, 2019’s Black Arts & Alchemy (starring the superlative single, “All Hail the Goat”). More importantly, though, the release of Black Arts & Alchemy not only ensnared the attention of fans all over the world, but also of the talent scouts at one of the England’s – and the world’s – best mid-major labels, Peaceville Records.
Featuring a past roster that is a veritable “Who’s Who” of godlike metal acts, Peaceville has been an important stop on the road to success for a myriad of household names such as Darkthrone, At the Gates, Cradle of Filth, Anathema, Opeth, and Behemoth; so now that Hellripper have joined their illustrious ranks, it is not a stretch to expect even bigger and better things for McBain’s “little” one-man venture. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's cover Hellripper’s initial Peaceville release, The Affair of the Poisons LP...
Unleashed yesterday, The Affair of the Poisons is Hellripper’s definitive work until now, and, in time, should become known as the album that truly introduced the entire world to this gifted Scottish prodigy. Not unlike Athenar’s Satanic Royalty or Joel Grind’s An Overdose of Death, McBain’s The Affair of the Poisons represents one of those uncommonly rare releases whose genre-defining genius cannot help but be noticed, revered, and eventually worshipped by the metal masses.
With eight hellaciously pacey cuts encompassing a tad under thirty minutes worth of blackened speed gloriousness, Hellripper’s Affair of the Poisons is practically perfect in every way. It is old school but modern, chaotic but tightly controlled, and dripping with Satanic dirtiness while still replete with classically inspired chord progressions, hooks, and solos that keep the music clean, relatable, and listenable (well, as "clean" as songs with titles like "Savage Blasphemy" and "Blood Orgy of the She-Devils" can be, anyway).
Long story short, this album is a motherfucking ripper that is one of the penultimate highlights of the year, if not the decade, so get this badassery in your ears by any means necessary!
To ease the process, however, you may simply smash that play button below to hear The Affair of the Poisons in its entirety, and to purchase a copy if you dig what you hear, please follow the links at the bottom of the page. Enjoy, and stay metal!
Rating: 100 / 100 (A++)
Release Date: October 9th, 2020 (Peaceville Records)
Genre: Blackened Speed
For Fans of: Motörhead, Venom, Razor, Midnight, Toxic Holocaust, Bewitcher, Töxik Death, Wraith