-- Hellnite --
|■||Carlos Paolo “Paul” Belmar Nieva||Vocals, guitar|
Review written by Glenn “Terra Shredder” Van Bockstaele.
Hellnite is a Canadian thrash metal band formed in 2010 as Manipulator before changing their name to Hellion and finally, in 2013, to Hellnite. This band is the brainchild of Mexican-born guitarist Carlos Paolo “Paul” Belmar Nieva. In 2013 the band brought out an EP called “Manipulator” (as a homage to their original name) and this “Midnight Terrors” album is their first full-length release, brought out by Sliptrick Records and delivered to us by Asher Media Relations. After a brief relaxing opening tune called “Projection,” Paul and the guys kick things off with “Phantom Force,” a nice melodic thrash metal song with some beautiful guitar solo work from Paul although his vocals on the album as a whole feel underwhelming. He sings in a low-energy, muttering voice that doesn’t match the energetic riffs he produces. There’s, however, a certain raw snarl in his voice but it isn’t coming through very well. Fortunately, the song is wrapped up by a sweet progressive metal section.
Up next is “Spirits Prevail,” a fast and sharp thrasher, this time with a huge emphasis on bass. A couple of sections on this track are bass-exclusive and, like the progressive edge from the previous track, is a part of the band that I want to hear more of in their next releases. The album’s third track is “Beasts From The Deep,” another fast song and this time the powerful double bass drums take the cake along with an epic series of old-school heavy metal guitar riffs. Then comes “Thrash Of The Living Dead,” a song that feels like coming straight out of the Bay Area region, great stuff!
Things calm down with the album’s sixth track, an instrumental progressive and classic heavy metal inspired tune called “Darker Than Black,” featuring both guitar and bass solos! Another fun track is the next one, “Stage On Fire,” a song whose riffs could provoke some good old moshing, too bad the song loses some of its momentum by the end. But Hellnite recuperates with the track “The Necromancer,” showcasing their classic heavy metal side as well as taking some cues from Kreator, resulting in an operatic set of epic guitar riffs and fiery drum beats, a highlight of this release. And finally there’s the album’s title track, a groovy thrash metal track featuring another badass bass solo section. Nothing special compared to the other songs on this release, but still enjoyable.
All in all, Hellnite’s debut album shows a band that has some good things going for them. Great guitar work, inspired by both heavy, thrash and progressive metal as well as frantic drum beats and a highly effective emphasis on bass. If they can improve on the vocals, add extra pepper to their overall production quality and make the songs a bit shorter, than I believe they can evolve into one sweet retro thrash metal act! Here’s the official lyric video for Midnight Terrors’ title track.