Helvetets Port - Exodus To Hell

13 songs
41:24 minutes
***** ***
Pure Steel


Helvetets Port from Sweden have only been founded in the current millennium, but they sound as if they had been around for more than thirty years in the metal circus. Their CD Exodus To Hell is a clear homage to the origins of heavy metal, without trying to come across as too serious, which helps giving their music a certain nonchalance. The band members’ pseudonyms Witchfinder, Inquisitor, Thunder and Lightning are a further proof of the record’s fun aspect.

If you prefer symphonic or cleanly produced power metal, you better make a large detour around Helvetets Port. The production sounds very old-fashioned, but should be considered an asset with this peculiar brand of metal, as it gives the sound a more authentic early Eighties feeling. The band is inspired strongly by the pioneers of the NWOBHM, reminding of bands like Samson and Iron Maiden. Whenever the vocalist aims for higher registers, images of early Mercyful Fate crawl up in my head. The songs are mostly played at a brisk pace without sounding too aggressive, not that was intended anyway. The Swedes’ joy of playing can best be discovered on the dramatic Diamond Claw, the funny Heavy Metal Night with a strong sing-along factor and on the concluding Hardrockens Förkämpe sung in their native tongue. The musicians don’t always leave a too tight impression on their instruments, but that is just further proof of their primal intentions. The lyrics are of course also full of every imaginable cliché.

It is obvious that Helvetets Port will polarise heavy metal fans, but I was truly excited by their metallic time travel. You can’t deny that the four musicians are true fans of early metal, and even when they don’t always manage to live up to their ambitions, Exodus To Hell has still turned out to be an extremely entertaining album.

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