Review by Ben for Friends of Hell - Friends of Hell (2022)
With the band name Friends of Hell, it was fairly likely that this band would perform doom metal in the style of the genre as it was in the early 80s. Friends of Hell is, after all, the name of Witchfinder General's second album from 1983. I have to say that this didn't excite me as much as it might do other doomsters, as I'm not a big fan of that particular band. Any concerns were quickly washed away though, as it was pretty obvious on first listen that these guys worship ALL the early doom bands. There's plenty of Sabbath, Saint Vitus and Pentagram here, and all the wonderfully doomy riffs are accompanied by the stunning vocals of Sami Hynninen from Reverend Bizarre (a band I really need to spend more time with). Sami appears to be making an effort to imitate the differing vocal styles of the bands I just mentioned, particularly Scott Reagers and Bobby Liebling from Saint Vitus and Pentagram respectively, and I have to say I enjoy his performance immensely. He even does a fair King Diamond impersonation on a couple of tracks (his main lower register, not the high stuff), creating strong ties to much of metal music's origins.
I must point out that third track Into my Coffin takes the schlock-horror atmosphere to a level of kitsch I'm not comfortable with (the connotations of "come into my coffin" are just a bit too much for me), but all is forgiven by the time closing track Wallachia graces my ears. This is the highlight track by far for me, and I'm secretly hoping that Sonny chooses it for this month's Fallen playlist (not so secretly now). If you can get into the early doom sound of the 80s, then you really should acquaint yourself with these Friends of Hell. Here's hoping they remain friends for at least another album or two.
2022 RANKING (56 releases so far)
26. Negativa - 04 - 4 stars
27. Friends of Hell - Friends of Hell - 4 stars
28. Vorga - Striving Toward Oblivion - 4 stars
2022 DOOM RANKING (15 releases so far)
8. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - The Harvest - 4 stars
9. Friends of Hell - Friends of Hell - 4 stars
10. Primitive Man - Insurmountable - 4 stars