HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Demon Entrails (Century Media)

Quickest of history lessons: Hellhammer is the short-lived, rough and raw, Venom-mad predecessor to Celtic Frost, known for a putrid almost no wave black and blue and yellow bruise of proto-black metal in their lone bit of official output, the incendiary and quite reviled-at-the-time six track Apocalyptic Raids EP from 1983. Essentially, it's middle finger punk rock Celtic Frost. Now the band's legendary three demos have been cleaned up and made available in this nice 'n' neat package featuring sequel-ish cover art. An astonishing 29 tracks are here, with only half overlap song-wise with the official product (but some overlap within itself). It's incredible how, given the decades of one-upped filth, some of this is downright accessible, especially the Satanic Rites demo, actually the earlier of the three. O'er to a second disc, and the Death Fiend and Triumph Of Death demos are pretty cruddy, with rattling snare, no bass etc., Tank/Cronos/Warfare vocals, oddly closer to the "killing music softly with his song" spirit of Hellhammer (and Venom) than the first demo, which is much closer to Celtic Frost in construction. My version is the two CD digi, which offers solid credit info but no lyrics and only two photos. There's a much more elaborate set available as well, plus a gatefold triple vinyl version. As has been reported, Tom is actually following up his Are You Morbid? Celtic Frost tell-all with a book about the Hellhammer years, which... you listen to this, and you gotta applaud the extremity with no precedent, save for the glaringly obvious one.
Rating 7.5