Old Mother Hell - Old Mother Hell album review

Mannheim-based newbies nail the trad doom dynamics

Cover art for Old Mother Hell - Old Mother Hell album

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This amusingly named German trio’s half-hour debut kicked up a stink in their homeland when it was independently released via Bandcamp last year, but happily those discerning tastemakers at Cruz Del Sur have picked it up and turned it into an artefact. Old Mother Hell have zero interest in reinventing the steel, but they – and we – have great fun lurching between epic caveman gallop and downcast doom plod, topped with impassioned vocals and punchthe-air choruses. There’s an endearing eagerness to please, and a wide-eyed conviction that makes a virtue of their well-worn, slightly over-familiar material. But it’s their first recording and they’ve already got their chops nailed, plus some discreetly quirky guitar work and affecting melodies glimpsed behind the hard-riffing Teutonic bravado. Ones to watch, if you can see for headbanging.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.