Release date: November 1, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Here in Hell is a self-financed EP comprising 3 tracks with a total time of something less than 16 minutes. These guys from the USA made a serious effort in making this release worth buying and tempting for the record labels. The packaging is professional, featuring a high resolution biography sheet, lyrics, and very good artwork.

The band behind this release was formed by two former Insaniac members, C.J. Scioscia (lead guitar) and Tom Nolz (guitar, vocals). Just for the record, Insaniac was a well-respected underground band born in the mid-eighties with 5 official recordings and numerous bootlegs, singles, EPs and demo releases. Skullshifter’s solid lineup is topped off with J. McCaffrey (bass) and Dan Davie (drums).

Skullshifter deflect from the Nu-Metal movement that dominates the American music industry towards an almost forgotten Metal scene, which had Machine Head on the frontline. The Metal scene in question has strong Thrash Metal foundations enriched with the “in your face” pissed off attitude from the controversial Punk movement, often given the name Crossover.

“I, Punishment” is the title of the opening track that clears any doubts about Skullshifter’s musical intentions. The low-tuned guitars create a solid neck wrecking rhythm section that fits perfectly Tom Nolz’s aggressive vocals. His voice wanders between Robert Flynn’s (Machine Head) aggression and Joe Comeau’s (ex Annihilator) melody and range. The guitar work is neither fancy nor sophisticated, but it has an excellent effect when it comes to headbanging and mosh pitting. One can surely allege that everything said about Insaniac’s insane live performances has definitely passed on to Skullshisfter.

Moving on to “Engines,” things are becoming even better. This track bears some of the finest elements coming from the Overkill camp, with heavy repeated riffs and dominating bass guitar sound. The fact that this is a self-financed release goes completely unnoticed since the sound production is absolutely flawless. The EP was mixed by Simon Efemey (Napalm Death, Paradise Lost ) at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, England and mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Mastodon) at West Side Music in New York.

The last song of the EP is the title track “Here in Hell.” The mid-tempo intro gives its place to another headbanging rhythm that breaks into a short guitar solo. The drums and the bass guitar create such a compact sound that steadily supports the Thrash with a dash of Hardcore music character.

Here in Hell will definitely do excellent work on promoting the band’s name and possibly leading them to sign a record deal. Of course, a future full-length release will prove whether they deserve one or not. On the other hand, how wrong could someone be after listening to these three very good songs?


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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