Picture of Hellhammer

Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D.

Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D. ©1990 Noise Int.
1. The Third Of Storms
2. Massacra
3. Triumph Of Death
4. Horus/aggresor
5. Revelations Of Doom
6. Messiah

To be honest, no thinking, rational person would ever be led to believe that this four song EP (appended with a couple compilation tracks for the 1990 reissue on CD) would literally turn the music world on its head and create an enormous subgenre of music that has completely changed the face of heavy metal. Even the creators of this particular piece of music have a hard time accepting that what they consider to be utterly horrendous, youthful noise has become one of the few projects that helped shape black and death metal. Yet, history and time has proven that Apocalyptic Raids has had precisely that effect.

Hellhammer came about around 1983 as the result of young Thomas Gabriel Fischer's boredom and intention to create a band more extreme than anything in the world. The trio, which was eventually fleshed out by drummer Bruce Day and bassist Martin Ain, barely could play their instruments and were essentially learning as they went. This makes for interesting, albeit not necessarily quality, results. Hellhammer's inexperience and completely naive approach helped create a very ugly sounding record. A lot of this can be blamed on their attempt to be more extreme by virtue of playing uglier than anyone around, but mostly this can be pegged to complete inexperience and no one in Switzerland, their home country, offering useful advice. Ironically, their perceived failed EP has acted as a blueprint for many black metal bands who thought this music was supposed to be badly produced and showing little musical talent. After all, the musicianship here is very weak and everything reduced to a muddy blur of sound. There is a certain entertainment value to be found and definitely a historical one, but on a whole, the EP is entirely a mess. Upon the final realization that Hellhammer wasn't exactly what the band envisioned when recording, Fischer and Ain scrapped the band and recreate themselves under the Celtic Frost concept. This new outlet was to cast aside the limitations of Hellhammer and approach the darker side of music with intelligence and better musicianship.

Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D. is in fact a record so bad that it's actually good. Better than Venom (which is hardly a major feat) and obviously the catalyst for the truly amazing Celtic Frost, Hellhammer served as a major impetus in forging a form of music that has lasted well over a decade and a half. It's amazing how teenagers trying to be extreme for extremity's sake could help unleash an entirely new form of extreme metal. For that alone, Hellhammer deserves the attention and praise given to them over time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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