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When webmaster Mark Holmes sent me this album to review he described it as: "a blast from the past; a band that I used to love, recently reformed (well, with some new members...)". That comment made me realise, once and for all, that the 1990s and very early 2000s were, personally, a really barren time for me when it came to following the music that I love because I only recognise the name Raise Hell vaguely and couldn't actually tell you if I've heard any of their previous output. Whilst I stayed in touch with the 'old faithful' it was only when I had got my head around the blessing/curse that is the internet in about 2002-03 that I really started discovering hundreds of bands again and catching up on others who had disappeared underground.

'Written In Blood' is actually Raise Hell's fifth full length album, but their first for nine years, which is a long time for even the most lacklustre of bands. Formed in 1996 by guitarist (and original vocalist) Jonas von Wowern and bass player Niklas Sjöström, they are joined here by vocalist Jimmy Fjällendahl and ex-Destruction drummer Sven Vormann but, even though they have been laying dormant for nearly half of their twenty year existence, have proven that there is nothing lacklustre about them, as 'Written In Blood' is a fine album of thrash (tinged with death) metal that'll have you wearing a safety neck brace pretty quickly!

From the off, Raise Hell remind me of Testament, Kreator, Exodus, Destruction and Annihilator with some early Metallica thrown in for good measure and sung by someone who is a mix between Destruction's Schmier and Children Of Bodom's Alexi Laiho. Being a lover of thrash you can assume, correctly, that this combination is a flipping good one! There are some great individual performances from all members, clever time changes and differences in pace, which make it far from one dimensional and it's well produced which gives the band and album a modern twist without them losing sight of their influences. Opener 'Dr. Death' and following track 'Six Feet Under' should leave you in no doubt that Raise Hell want to, er, raise some hell!

Despite all that, and whilst hooks are apparent throughout the course of the album, those hooks aren't quite big or catchy enough to put Raise Hell in the upper echelons along with the above mentioned bands or, Metallica aside, their recent output, but they've made a grand attempt and tracks such as 'Fallen Domination', 'A Blackened Resurrection' and album closer 'Final Hour' do come close. I certainly think it puts them in the chasing pack though and really hope it's not another nine years before Raise Hell release album number six!
Black Lodge Records
Review by Rick Tilley
21st August 2015
1) Dr. Death
2) Six Feet Under
3) Fallen Domination
4) Demon Mind
5) A Blackened Resurrection
6) The Bell of the Reaper
7) We Arise
8) Thank you God
9) In Cold Blood
10) Final Hour
"...should leave you in no doubt that Raise Hell want to, er, raise some hell!"