Today I get to bring this absolute chainsaw massacre of a record from Texas (see what I did there…!), death/trash maniacs Steel Bearing Hand. This Dallas quartet bring the hellfire with their thunderous mix of death metal, thrash metal and speed metal all coming together into vicious and thunderous ride, which is aptly titled Slay In Hell and is being released April 2nd on vinyl and CD via San Jose, USA’s Carbonized records, who also put out the killer record from death doom fiends Funeral Leech last year, along with a limited cassette through Cimmerian Strength Productions.
Sporting insane cover art courtesy of artist Vrugarthdoom, it depicts a war torn hellscape full of waring corpses caught up in a thunderous storm. Everywhere you look, you spot something new you hadn’t noticed before, Vrugarthdoom did a killer job. What is also great is that the carpet matches the drapes, the mayhem unleashed by Steel Bearing Hand perfectly compliment the image spewed all over it.
The record wastes no time in driving a broadsword through your sternum, lifting you into the air and bathing in your innards. Rolling toms that sound like thunder are complimented by a chaotic riff that cuts right across like lightning in the sky, then a huge guitar squeal brings it all together into breakneck riffage and absolutely pulverizing drums. The vocals on the opener are higher in register and would not be out of place on a black/thrash record, it’s chaotic but hella infectious.
I’m only four minutes in and all I want to do is grab some pals, some beers and party hard as this record is an absolute rager. What’s also interesting is that Slay In Hell is only six tracks long but runs at forty minutes, which for a trash album sounds weird as you’d usually expect double the tracks.
if you’re looking for a raging blackened/death/thrash slab of madness then look no further, Slay In Hell could be just for you…
By the time your poor corpse has slid down to the bottom of the sword, your slammed with the second track Lich Gate which leans considerably more on the death metal side of things. The riffs are huge and full of attitude, while the vocals morph completely into these low register howls that wouldn’t be out of place on a Cianide record. The one thing that carries across from the first track is the pace. Lich Gate, however, is way more crunchy, think more Consuming Impulse than Pleasure To Kill. The track is finished off with another killer screaming solo from Wyatt Burton who slays on here.
Tombspawn is a touch slower, but heavier than a lead coated anvil. If you’re not banging your head to the killer bouncing riff on this one, then you’re doing it wrong. The crashing symbols alongside the massive riffs and barked gutturals are absolutely crushing and this is no doubt my favourite track on the record. It’s a great midpoint for the record, it’s slower but still just as heavy.
The latter half of the record picks up the pace again and there’s more wailing guitars, chaotic riffs and crashing drums before leading you into the surprise of the long player, the twelve minute closer Ensanguined which is chock full of instrumental passages that weave and wind across the records conclusion. There’s a riff at the three-and-a-half-minute mark that is chunkier than my post-COVID waste line, an absolute chugger.
Slay In Hell is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The forty minutes absolutely fly by. I don’t know how memorable this record is going to be in the myriad of extreme metal releases being released this year , but I’m really glad I got a chance to take a deep dive into this one. So, if you’re looking for a raging blackened/death/thrash slab of madness then look no further, Slay In Hell could be just for you.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander