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Curse And Chapter

United Kingdom Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Curse And Chapter
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013
Genre: Heavy, NWOBHM
1. Gehennae Incendiis
2. The Age Of Nefarious
3. The Disposer Supreme
4. Darkhangel
5. Harbinger Of Death (Race Against Time Cover)
6. End Ov Days
7. Deathsquad
8. Something Wicked This Way Comes
9. Faith Will Fall
10. Land Of The Living Dead
11. Deliver Us From Evil
12. A Vespertine Legacy

Review by Felix on July 19, 2023.

It’s a bit sad, but Hell were a kind of cheat. They had just recycled their three-decade-old material in the 2010s, the shop was closed again. So, for a second time, the British remained an unfulfilled promise. Maybe their theatrical approach indicated more of their mentality than we thought. Hell was just a big show, but its protagonists were no men of conviction, at least not in this constellation.

Well, maybe it was a good decision that they retired after “Curse & Chapter”. The album was perfectly produced, immaculately balanced, very powerful and fiery yet smooth at the same time. Moreover, it sounds very vital due to the thrilling song patterns of a remarkable number of songs. Although we speak about more or less traditional heavy metal, the tracks do not follow conservative schemes, but uncover a pretty cool complexity due to a lot of twists and turns. This rather progressive style was not at the expense of accessibility. And yet there remains a great deterioration compared to the debut. Some of the tracks on "Curse & Chapter" would not even have been given a place at the side table on "Human Remains", for example the vapid “Land of the Living Dead” or the nervous “Deliver Us from Evil”. After all: the biggest failure does not come from the band itself. The cover at number five on the song list suffers from a stale melody in the verses and doesn't get to the point. No idea why, with 55 minutes of their own material, they record such cheese.

Saviour comes with the ominous yet melodic first tones of “End ov Days”. The straightforward piece cuts a swathe through the jungle of the other progressively dressed pieces. Its verses have drive, the chorus does not lack conciseness and David Bower sings his lines, here about preachers of the apocalypse, expressively as always. His contribution is missing from the following instrumental, the B side of the "Save Us from Those Who Would Save Us" single from 1983. A somewhat bland piece, the answer to the question why it wasn't already used on the debut is very obvious. You notice, the album delivers ups and downs in terms of quality despite many crunchy guitars. “Faith Will Fall” marks the last “up”. Its opening riff is very generic yet simultaneously absolutely strong and catchy and both the bridge and the chorus are well embedded in the song. It cannot fully compete with “End ov Days” or the vibrant quasi opener “The Age of Nefarious”, but it’s a little highlight, no doubt about it. By the way, I do not know why “The Age of Nefarious” so blatantly references the hippie hymn about Aquarius, but it doesn't bother either.

“Curse & Chapter” is no bad album, but it documents that Hell were running out of breath. And, once again, this was sad, because their concept was interesting and although their final full-length is relatively far from the occult vibes of an album like "Melissa", Hell had a certain mysticism on their side. Their last song (ever?), “A Vespertine Legacy”, marks a worthy farewell. If they had given the album a length of only 45 minutes while throwing two or three weak tracks into the bin, “Curse and Chapter” would have been almost on a par with the monumental debut.

Rating: 7.3 out of 10