West of Hell: Spiral Empire

Another killer thrash revival band/record with an interesting story to tell. This is their debut record, yet the band have been around for ten years now. The band formed in 2002 in New Zealand, where they started out as an instrumental group. In 2009, the moved to Vancouver and teamed up with former Zimmer’s Hole singer Chris “Heathen” Valagao. I’d say that it’s been well worth the wait because this band are simply fantastic and Valagao really captures the essence of the band well with his powerful voice. It’s bands like these and records as strong as these that remind me why I love metal so much and that the old guard are still as relevant and as influential today as they were in their heyday.

The only reason I found out about these guys was because the PR people who teamed up with the Mayhem Festival this year sent me an email asking me if I’d like to review it. Thank god they did, or else I might have missed out on something really fucking cool. West of Hell are really making a good impression with this debut and I firmly believe that we’ll be hearing more of them as the years progress. Hopefully more people get on board with this band because I can totally see them playing at something like Mayhem Festival or any one of those brilliant metal festivals that the UK has to offer.

If you’re a fan of Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Firewind, Judas Priest, Overkill, Iron Maiden, or metal in general that why aren’t you listening to this record. There are some really great moments on this that make you go “No fucking way!” with very little dips in the overall standing of the record. I think this record might even contend for a potential spot in my top 20 for 2012. We’ll just have to wait and see what everyone else has to say.

Luke Helker

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