#Hellcommander Year Of The Goat

4 min read

Band: Hellcommander
Title: Year of the Goat
Label: Pesttanz Klangschmiede
Release date:  8 February 2024
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording 

A new evil and dark project has emerged from the depths of the Northern countries, the land of cold, snow and forests… And of course, land of Black Metal. ‘Cause that’s what Swedish one man band Hellcommander is about: this is some of the darkest, some of the more evil, more infamous, more menacing… music you’ve listened to. Just by checking it you’ll see…

But first, let me talk about the man behind this project. He is no other than Vargblod, with a certain name in the underground Metal scene. He is the founder of Myronath, and currently also with another Black Metal band, Helvitnir (if you still haven’t heard from them, I encourage you to do that soon), he was playing bass in Ragnarok for two years; other bands involving Vargblod were Martyrium, Khaospath, Draugûl (another solo project)… Well, to say something this man has not been sleeping a lot! (I had the pleasure of doing an interview with him some weeks ago, if you’re curious you can check what he had to say to my questions).

In Hellcommander, as I said in the beginning, Vargblod unleashes his darkest side, with a sound that clearly has influences from the origins of Black Metal mixed with the music he’s been doing in Myronath, something relentless and very energetic. This debut EP it’s made up of 5 songs, clocking less than 30 minutes, and you can find yourself immersed in a swirl that’s destroying all your emotions but the darkest ones.

The opener “Book of Shadows” starts with a tremolo riff and consistent drums; and oh that evil scream that follows, my blood freezes in my veins! I love how the cymbals are smashed, the different patterns, the changes in speed… At first I thought maybe some known drummer was behind a real kit… maybe Hellhammer? Ahh, considering the cover song that’s included in this EP… why not? But no, he’s not. 

After this first display of vibrant Black Metal, the song that follows, “Fires of Fantoft”, has the same amount of evil or maybe more. And, beware: this song gets easily stuck in your head. I can’t help but show a mischievous smile  when this spoken phrase is said: “It’s called Black Metal music and encourages Devil worship and the desecration of churches”, and the insane scream/laugh that follows has its point. The slower section in the middle of this track is the darkest part, where guitar and bass are drawing some kind of duet while the other guitar remains in the background and its metallic sound makes this part become bloody freezing.

“Throne of the Antichrist” is a very dark song, with the guitar playing (not only but mostly) that same note in some verses, like a monotone cacophony; and then, leading to a tremolo riff with great bass lines. Vocals, as usual, are wicked and gnarly. 

And then, all of a sudden, a well known Black Metal hymn appears; not less than Mayhem’s cover “De Mysteriis dom Sathanas”. It’s not only that Vargblod is brave enough to do this version: the fact is that it sounds darker and heavier than the original. Vargblod plays it downtuned, which makes it more obscure and obsessive. That’s my impression. The sound is more crisp, but I guess that being in the year 2024 helps a bit. Oh and he does all the vocals, his voice is this versatile!

The song “Gehinnam” is the closing one in this EP; you can imagine by its title what’s about. ”Gehenna”, “Gehinnom” is a word used to name Hell (besides, it’s a historic valley surrounding Jerusalem). So, in addition to being composed of the most icy riffs and built around an obsessive rhythm guitar plucking the same note most of the time, vocals are evil and twisted, and the resonating bass creates a deep and foggy background. The guitar solo is surprisingly clear and different from the overall tone; it’s like a ray of light breaking the unbearable darkness. Drums are perfect, without overcharging the song; just haunting you to total craziness.

Can’t imagine a better way to start a solo project. But well, Vargblod has already written some outstanding chapters in his musical career, so it’s not that surprising that this is so damn good. For me it’s 9,5/10  Sílvia

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9,5/10 Epic Storm
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