Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, punk/, -core, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen we find ourselves hurtling down an inescapable road led by Providence, Rhode Island’s Hell Bent.
If you’re dragging a little this morning then hitch your wagon to Providence’s Hell Bent and hold on. This New England-based quartet of die-hards not only has the sheer thrust to get you moving, they’ve got that catchiness to keep you moving. Hell Bent’s six track declaration—and they’re all actual tracks, too—is uncompromising crossover played by nihilistic punks and misanthropic metalheads.
Brian, Hell Bent’s drummer (he’s also the o.g. drummer for Dropdead, you fucking assholes) explains that after Neon Bitches, another band he played in with HB’s guitarist John and bassist Shawn, “kind of sputtered out” he found himself looking for “something more metal.”
“[W]e talked about it and then just started doing it,” Brian says. “We all listen to metal and it was easy to throw in some ‘Slayer beats’ in the new songs we were working on. It was also easy for me to work in some Celtic Frost-inspired beats in the songs, too. We still have Swedish ‘d-beat’ sort of stuff in there a bit like the last two bands I was in with the guys.”
PHoto by Rachel Castagnino
For musicians like Brian, John, Shawn, and vocalist Badger, whose scathing imperatives you may recognize from the Agoraphobic Nosebleed side of their split with Cattle Press, it’s “easy” for them to throw a ‘Slayer beat’ here, or a Celtic Frost section there because they’ve all played in so many different bands. But Hell Bent represents something like a boiling point for all their activity hitherto forming this deadly outfit.
“Before I did Neon Bitches with these guys, the band I did was essentially Black/Doom, so doing those genres when it came to writing songs again wasn’t what I wanted to focus on,” Hell Bent’s bassist Shawn admits. “For me personally Hell Bent is a ‘crossover’ of metal/hardcore/punk subgenres of music which I grew up with and still am passionate about today.”
If you’re for some reason unconvinced that Hell Bent nails steadfast crossover jam “Bastard Curse of Abraham.” Besides the pummeling-unto-decapitating music, the lyrics, according to Badger, represent: “A challenge to the unnatural and destructive concept of dualism that both Christianity and Islam promote. Reality is far more nuanced than good/evil, light/dark, salvation/damnation, and the fact that almost the entire cultural narrative worldwide is defined by these simplistic concepts that these two religions propagate leaves me with little hope for the future of ‘civilization.’”
Demo 2016 is available to download for free at Hell Bent’s Bandcamp. Get in touch with the band to procure a cassette.
Check this space next and every Friday for another killer demo.