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Possession, child sacrifice and speed metal: welcome to the world of Hellripper

Hellripper
(Image credit: Kevin Hume)

Coming screaming out of Aberdeen, Hellripper has steadily become the hottest name in the world of blackened speed metal. One-man riff machine James McBain started the project in his bedroom back in 2014. Six years on, he’s just released one of the most unrelentingly balls-out metal albums of the year, The Affair Of The Poisons, and the underground buzz surrounding it is deafening.

“The original goal was to record a few songs at home, put them online and maybe a few people from the local scene would like them,” James recalls. “It started completely through necessity. I simply didn’t know anyone at the time that was into this style of music, so I’m surprised and very grateful that the music has reached so many people around the world.”

Based around shady goings-on in 17th-century aristocratic France, with plenty of “possession, witchcraft, child sacrifice and poisonings”, The Affair Of The Poisons maintains the old-school ethos that’s informed every Hellripper release to date. 

“I don’t think Hellripper’s sound is particularly unique and that has never been my intention,” he notes. “For this album, the primary goal was just to write eight good songs. I wanted fast songs with good riffs, catchy choruses and plenty of guitar solos. Hopefully I’ve create an old-school vibe with a modern approach!”

Although 2020 has been ruinous for just about everyone, James’s stay-at-home approach to making music now seems like simple common sense. Nonetheless, a live incarnation of Hellripper continues to flourish and, when all this madness is over, they will be back to rip again.

“The plan is to keep releasing music, keep playing shows and hopefully the band continues to grow,” says James. “But there are no plans for Hellripper to record as a ‘full band’ at the moment. I live in a remote part of Scotland, so getting together to rehearse is complicated. Doing it all at home is definitely the most convenient way!” 

Hellripper’s The Affair Of The Poisons is out now