HELL TREPANNER – Unholy Proclamations of Death and Darkness (2021)REVIEW

Hell Trepanner is a death metal trio who formed in 2013 as Neciazo, an old-school obsessed cult basing their activity out of Lima District, Peru and taking their lessons in late 80’s styled thrashing death metal beyond the primal actor ‘Altars of Madness’ and unto the tutelage of Sadistic Intent and Mortem (Peru), among others. Though we can consider this 7″ EP the best realized vision of the band to date, getting there via their larger discography indicates a long process of development in terms of finding their own voice even if their aesthetic and sound has always been commendable.

Their first EP (‘Entrance to Hell‘, 2016) aimed for classic death/thrash metal on paper but was notably influenced by crust punk in terms of the rhythm section, landing their sound closer to something like Sodom‘s early 90’s sound. Not a bad place to start and certainly a memorable tape but it was the bands first promo rehearsal tape (‘Before Descending Back to Putrid Grave‘, 2017) that’d suggested their evolution would ebb towards pure death metal from that point; This was realized on a 2019 split with Deshumanized (‘Towards the Diabolical Domains‘) where we’d gotten the Hell Trepanner sound as it is today, an ideation of classic Peruvian death metal in style and late 80’s death metal in spirit. More specifically, those compositions began to hit nearby the standards of 1989-1992 in terms of exiting some of their evil thrash metal rhythmic technique but keeping the energetic brutality of their performances up. In terms of songwriting the band was not there yet in 2019 and this seems to be the revelation of this latest EP.

‘Unholy Proclamations of Death and Darkness’ shows Hell Trepanner are capable of not only writing somewhat memorable songs beyond riffs but they’ve also managed to generate their own morbid atmospheric values while doing so. I figure that is a lot expectation to load onto a 7″ record which rockets past but the experience is substantial enough even at ~14 minutes of death metal and it counts for something that they’ve pulled off a most-refined version of themselves herein. The two songs on offer are two of Hell Trepanner‘s best yet this doesn’t give me much to really wax on. The story of the band’s development is all here in two parts, each one detailing larger songwriting threads developed since 2013. The excruciatingly sinister approach of “Beyond the Grave of the Dead”, a slow rhythmic tunnel-vision which breaks out into the fiery thrashing furor defines the more recent releases from the band; This piece is natural refinement of the style they’d been tempering on the 2019 split and if you are already a fan of Embalmed Souls there is a similarly hellish yet patient old school death metal pit to experience herein. The absolute destruction of “Sepulchral Rites of Damnation” manifests as a more traditional song echoing the demonic spirit of Mortem in a subtle way without sounding like a copy. This seems to be the original concept of the band amplified to its most logical traditional extreme but in fact it was written nearly two years after “Beyond the Grave of the Dead”. It only goes to show that their songcraft is developed with an enduring mindset.

On the inside rim of Side A they’ve engraved “Barbaric Death Metal From Peru” and for me it is these smaller touches of personality that make a record not only memorable by covetable as an experience — It is yet impossible to compare the physical sensation of listening to a 7″ record to listening digitally, this creates an incredible bias/favor on my part for the vinyl record itself while admiring the item. This is the case with ‘Unholy Proclamations of Death and Darkness’ thanks to fine artwork from Artem Astaroth alongside a fine layout with the lyrics in silver text as well as a band photo on the interior of the four panel folder. The congregation of three ghouls in front of a bloody occult vortex is well worth staring at and, eh, despite my camera picking up too much light, it is an appropriately dark match for the music within. There is also a card packed in which describes Hell Trepanner‘s vision for the release and certainly speaks to this higher standard they’ve reached on this release. At this point I’m convinced the band intend to maintain this high standard of release, these types of assurances are few and far between so I am ecstatic to have gotten a lock on this band as they come into their own. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (85/100)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Unholy Proclamations of Death and Darkness
LABEL(S):Crypts of Eternity Productions
RELEASE DATE:June 1st, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Crypts of Eternity Shop
GENRE(S):Death Metal

Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.