Blackened speed metal, admittedly a niche genre already, has rarely been in a better position than it is now. From genre figureheads Midnight to Portland natives Bewitcher and German crew Hexenbrett, there’s a glut of new music in the style, but one band has always stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Scotland’s Hellripper is the result of one James McBain, who’s played every instrument and performed vocals in the project since its inception in 2014. One thing that stands out in Hellripper’s music is McBain’s enthusiasm—from the first EP and collection of splits to debut album Coagulating Darkness to the brand-new The Affair of the Poisons, Hellripper attack the listener with a sense of enthusiasm and spirit that their peers simply lack.
As always, McBain freshens up his speed-metal assault with thrilling and memorable leads. Overall, Hellripper stands out from the masses of other one-person black metal projects because their music sounds like a full band of individual musicians; there is no weakest element and it’s very easy to imagine the music transferring to the stage.
The Affair of the Poisons is out now on Peaceville.