BravePicks 2023 - HELLRIPPER's Warlocks Grim & Weathered Hags #25
December 7, 2023, 3 months ago
Where does the time go? 2023 seems like a blur as we continued to rebound from COVID, the music industry still struggling to get back on their feet. But metalheads have always been strong survivors and music ruled the day, with countless memorable albums and live shows happening more than ever!
But lets celebrate! It is that time of the year to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2023 each day in December!
Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2023? and Metal Predictions For 2024. All will be showcased come the New Year!
25) HELLRIPPER - Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags (Peaceville)
U.K. one man wrecking crew Hellripper has been crafting a searing dose of black/thrash/speed metal since 2014 and 2023 saw the release of his third full-length, a deadly potion of energetic tunes with fast tempos, melding the darkness and coldness of black metal with melodic and slicing solos.
Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags dives into the legends and myths of the Scottish highlands and the stories of yore is a perfect backdrop for the deadly assault of blackened thrash, keeping the genre fresh and rides into #25.
BW scribe Nick Balazs scored the album a 9.5 and wrote in his review:
The title track roars in with monster guitars and a memorable volcanic riff that eventually gives way to a lush melodic soloing section. There are bits of everything in here from the black metal precision of Dissection to the intricate riffs of Portrait to the speeding and no-nonsense attitude of Motörhead to the melodic soloing of Iron Maiden, and the manic intensity of Evil Invaders. It all melds to this mammoth creation of Hellripper and everything hits just right and keeps the listener surprised.
Even the rush of the 3:15 “Goat Vomit Nightmare” holds unexpected musical moods with an acoustic break followed by a magnificent solo section. Opener and first single “The Nuckelavee” sets the tone showcasing what the album has to offer ticking the boxes of Storm Of The Light’s Bane-era Dissection and startling leads wrapped in a full-thrash assault. “The Cursed Carrion Crown” is an example of why thrash is such a fun genre – the riffs and tempo changes on this one are insane – plus check out the blast beats and blackened intensity towards the final moments of the track. “The Hissing Marshes” roars in with that Lemmy-like attitude letting the bass ride the rhythm before bursting to a speeding assault.
BravePicks 2023 Top 30
26) HITTEN - While Passion Lasts (High Roller)
27) ENFORCER - Nostalgia (Nuclear Blast)
28) GATEKEEPER - From Western Shores (Cruz del Sur)
29) PRONG - State Of Emergency (SPV / Steamhammer)
30) KK'S PRIEST - The Sinner Rides Again (Napalm)