Thrashing blood with progressive power

-- West of Hell --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
Thrash Metal
Power metal
Progressive Metal
Album artists:
Chris ''The Heathen'' Valagao Vocals
Sean Parkinson Guitars
Kris Shulz Guitars
Jordan Kemp Bass
Andrew Hulme Drums

Review written by Glenn “Terra Shredder” Van Bockstaele.

West of Hell is a Canadian thrash/power metal band founded in New Zealand in 2002 but who relocated to Canada in 2009. In 2012 their debut album “Spiral Empire” finally saw the light of day and another 7 years later the band remerged with their second album “Blood of the Infidel.” Released independently but the band was mentioned to us multiple times by Asher Media Relations and the band will also be featured in the upcoming 17th compilation album from our Brazilian friends of Imperative Music (alongside the likes of Ross the Boss, Armored Dawn, Atrocity and several other worldwide metal bands).

West of Hell’s sound is a huge mixture of thrash and power metal with additional influences from death and progressive metal. For instance, the opening track “Hammer and Hand” features melodic thrash riffs with a catchy power chorus, high-pitched clean vocals and vicious shrieking and progressive guitar sections, all in the same 6-minute track. Things get more thrash with “Chrome Eternal” but the lengthy prog-parts and operatic vocals remain. The album’s third track, “Infidels,” is significantly faster and actually has some similarities to Anthrax iconic anthem “Indians,” especially in the chorus.

Next up is “The Machine,” a more classic power metal song with sci-fi themes and powerful vocals along with some growls and blast beats but then comes the 9-minute long “Dying Tomorrow,” without a doubt this album’s magnum opus! It features soothing acoustic guitars, epic electric guitars, galloping beats, crisp bass, clean and grunt vocals. It’s a versatile track with a classic progressive metal style, just like the next song, “The Dark Turn.” Eventually the album ends with the powerful “Mankind Commands,” another thrash & power prog-mix with some of the most beautiful guitar solos on the album.

What makes West of Hell’s second album stand out the most is the overall variety of its 7 songs with some songs focusing more on thrash metal beats while others more on classic metal riffs or catchy power metal lyrics. The album isn’t overly bombastic and features great clean and harsh vocals (Chris is particularly proficient with the high notes), excellent guitar work from Sean and Kriz, scorching bass from Jordan and well-rounded drums by Andrew. The album never bored me despite the lengthy songs and I’m looking forward to hear more from West of Hell, let’s just hope it won’t take them another 7 years to make a sequel!

West of Hell’s “Blood of the Infidel” is a successful threesome of thrash, progressive and power metal that’s more than enjoyable to every fan of those aforementioned subgenres! Horns in the air! Here’s “Hammer and Hand!”