Friday, November 26, 2010
Review: Hellbastard - "Eco War"
Hellbastard emerged from their 15-year dormancy in 2009 with the simultaneous release of The Need to Kill and Eco War EP. While the former was a fairly decent studio full-length, Eco War comes off as an unloved and inferior little brother, slightly resembling the full-length but not given the same level of care and attention in songwriting the LP received.
With just five tracks including a reprise of “Going Postal,” whose original was on The Need to Kill (and the reprisal appears here in lower-grade form), Eco War is pretty scant. The second song, “Sea Shepherd” is probably the best of the bunch if only for its advocacy of the activist conservation organization, and despite some fairly mediocre lyrics and cheesy vocal effects: “In tune with Gaia, in tune with Gaia / Stoke the fires / Of the whalers' pyre.” “Woe, the People” enters with tired butt-rock metal riffs before morphing into more of a swamp-boogie jam, and at five-and-a-half minutes is just way too drawn out.
The following track, “Massacre” suffers the same fate in its lack of brevity, lasting nearly four-and-a-half minutes but taking three of them to finally get going. After that, it gets pretty good, but the problem is getting there. The final track, a cover of Slayer’s “Die by the Sword” is one of the more lively and engaging cuts of the five, with some pretty impressive guitar soloing and the humility to come to end before the three-minute mark (though it does continue on through the 6:30 mark with some hidden “material”).
Despite all that Hellbastard has done in aiding the pioneering and development of crust punk, Eco War is pretty much an extreme fan’s grab if it should be picked up at all. For new Hellbastard tunes, look to The Need to Kill and look no further.