ATotal destruction by Raise Hell; Metal Mind Set to Re-release Raise Hell’s Discography

Sweden is often considered a cradle of European metal, housing hundreds of talented formations. Raise Hell could just as well be another Swedish metal band, if it wasn’t for one particular ability these guys have… it’s the ability to develop their own musical style into something entirely different than expected. For over ten years the group released four albums, each showcasing a brand new quality in metal music. Metal Mind Productions presents the exclusive reissues of “Holy Target”, “Not Dead Yet” and “Wicked Is My Game” which introduce a metal act that is fully aware of their strength and potential. Whether they took on death, black, heavy or thrash metal, the result was always the same – total destruction!

Holy Target – the debut album from 1998 brought nine tracks of condensed black metal mixed with death metal and a few thrash elements. This resulted in a truly intriguing mixture, combining all the best pieces of each genre. Such intense tracks as “Raise the Devil”, “Legion of Creeps” and “The Red Ripper” clearly showed that the four young musicians were not kidding around – this was pure black metal mayhem, backed by some strong anti-Christian message and a shocking cover artwork.

Not Dead Yet – the album was recorded in August 1999 in Studio Fredman under the careful eye of Anders Fridén (producer and lead singer of In Flames). The music ventured from black/death metal to more thrash-oriented areas, while still managing to keep the same guitar tones and vocals. The main difference was the songwriting itself, this time taking a lot from groups such as Manowar or Megadeth. Also the lyrical content underwent some changes. The lyrics and the cover artwork were clearly inspired by ‘leather & steel’ 80’s metal, giving the entire album a very ‘classic’ feel. This was especially heard in the track “Babes” which is nothing but a splendid bastardization of “Light My Fire” by The Doors. Other highlights included the fast and energetic title track and the semi-ballad “Devilyn”. With the addition of humorous elements and a more thrashy sound, Raise Hell took another step in their evolution and presented a fairly different style, at the same time not losing their identity.

Wicked Is My Game – the band’s third LP was recorded in 2002 in the Flat Planet studio, again with Anders Fridén turning the knobs. While the music was still kept in the spirit of the previous album, “Wicked Is My Game” welcomed new additions to the band’s mixture, such as power metal and rock’n’roll! Songs like the mid-paced opener “Hellborn” and “The Haunted House” deliver new quality in the group’s songwriting formula. But classic thrash metal anthems can also be found, just play “Death Race” or “Destiny Deceiver”. The slower “Another Side” with a ballad-like intro is another tune worth mentioning. With “Wicked Is My Game” Raise Hell proved once and for all that they are not afraid of experimenting with their style.

All three titles will be released in a new digipak edition limited to 2000 copies. Digitally remastered using 24-Bit process on golden disc. The release date is scheduled for 28th July 2008 in Europe and 30th September in USA (via MVD).

Raise Hell
“Holy Target” (remastered)

Label: Metal Mind Records
Cat. No.: MASS CD 1196 DG
Barcode: 5907785032927
Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numerated copies)
Genre: black/death metal
Release date: 28.07.2008 Europe / 30.09.2008 USA

Tracklist:

1. The March of Devil’s Soldiers
2. Raise the Devil
3. Beautiful as Fire
4. Holy Target
5. Legions of Creeps
6. The Red Ripper
7. Black Visions
8. Mattered Out
9. Superior Powers

Raise Hell
“Not Dead Yet” (remastered)

Label: Metal Mind Records
Cat. No.: MASS CD 1197 DG
Barcode: 5907785032934
Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numerated copies)
Genre: black/thrash metal
Release date: 28.07.2008 Europe / 30.09.2008 USA

Tracklist:

1. Dance With The Devil
2. Babes
3. Back Attack
4. Devilyn
5. Not Dead Yet
6. No Pulse
7. User of Poison
8. He is Coming
9. Soulcollector

Raise Hell
“Wicked Is My Game” (remastered)

Label: Metal Mind Records
Cat. No.: MASS CD 1198 DG
Barcode: 5907785032941
Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numerated copies)
Genre: black/thrash metal
Release date: 28.07.2008 Europe / 30.09.2008 USA

Tracklist:

1. Hellborn
2. Night-watcher
3. The Haunted House
4. Wicked Is My Game
5. In my cell
6. An other side
7. Deathrace
8. Devil may care
9. The destiny deceiver

Bio
The band emerged on the Stockholm metal scene in 1996, formed by guitarist/vocalist Jonas Nilsson and bassist Niklas Sjöström. A month later guitarist Torstein Wickberg joined the line-up, followed shortly by drummer Dennis Ekdahl. At first the group called themselves In Cold Blood and under that name they recorded their first demo – “Nailed”. The demo caught the attention of the acclaimed Nuclear Blast Records and in May 1998 the band entered the famous Abyss Studio (owned by producer and founder of Hypocrisy – Peter Tägtgren) to record their debut offering – “Holy Target”. Just before the album was released, the group changed their name to Raise Hell…
“Holy Target” brought nine tracks of condensed black metal mixed with death metal and a few thrash elements. This resulted in a truly intriguing mixture, combining all the best pieces of each genre. Such intense tracks as “Raise the Devil”, “Legion of Creeps” and “The Red Ripper” clearly showed that the four young musicians were not kidding around – this was pure black metal mayhem, backed by some strong anti-Christian message and a shocking cover artwork. Reviewers begun calling Raise Hell “the next Dissection”, in the same time pointing out similarities to such bands as Hypnosia and Kreator (mostly due to the fact that Jonas Nilsson’s vocals strongly resembled Mille Petrozza). After the album’s release Raise Hell went out on an European tour alongside Dismember, Children of Bodom, Night In Gales and Agathodaimon, while later that year, in August, they performed on the famous Wacken Open Air festival.
The group was well on their way to success, but they felt that the formula they used on their debut release was already outdated and wanted to try something a bit different. In August 1999 they entered Studio Fredman and under the careful eye of Anders Fridén (producer and lead singer of In Flames) recorded their follow-up, “Not Dead Yet”. The music ventured from black/death metal to more thrash-oriented areas, while still managing to keep the same guitar tones and vocals. The main difference was the songwriting itself, this time taking a lot from groups such as Manowar or Megadeth. Also the lyrical content underwent some changes. As Torstein Wickberg explained in an interview for RevelationZ magazine: “[For “Holy Target”] it was a lot of hate against Christianity, and for the “Not Dead Yet” album we were more into partying, hehe”. The lyrics and the cover artwork were clearly inspired by ‘leather & steel’ 80’s metal, giving the entire album a very ‘classic’ feel. This was especially heard in the track “Babes” which is nothing but a splendid bastardization of “Light My Fire” by The Doors. Other highlights included the fast and energetic title track and the semi-ballad “Devilyn”. With the addition of humorous elements and a more thrashy sound, Raise Hell took another step in their evolution and presented a fairly different style, at the same time not losing their identity. The release of “Not Dead Yet” was followed by a mini-tour with Destruction, who were very fond of the young band’s music. Afterwards came the second performance at Wacken. Wickberg : „(…) we had a really good response from the audience then. I must say for all of us, it was our best show so far!”. Another European tour followed soon after, this time with Destruction, Hypocrisy, Crematory and Kataklysm.
The band’s third LP was recorded in 2002 in the Flat Planet studio, again with Anders Fridén turning the knobs. While the music was still kept in the spirit of the previous album, “Wicked Is My Game” welcomed new additions to the band’s mixture, such as power metal and rock’n’roll! Songs like the mid-paced opener “Hellborn” and “The Haunted House” deliver new quality in the group’s songwriting formula. But classic thrash metal anthems can also be found, just play “Death Race” or “Destiny Deceiver”. The slower “Another Side” with a ballad-like intro is another tune worth mentioning. With “Wicked Is My Game” Raise Hell proved once and for all that they are not afraid of experimenting with their style. As bassist Niklas Sjöström told RevelationZ magazine: “I think a part of our band is that we always want to develop and put something new into each record, because we don’t want to be one of these bands who keep repeating themselves album after album, just the same songs in a different way.”
After the third full-length album was released, Raise Hell and Nuclear Blast mutually agreed to part ways. In late Autumn of 2002 the group decided to look for a full-time vocalist, as Jonas Nilsson wanted to concentrate solely on his guitar playing. Soon Raise Hell welcomed in their ranks a long time friend, Jimmy Fjällendahl, who previously sang in a local rock band called Driftaway. As Wickberg recalls: “We were actually kind of worried because Jimmy always did the clean vocals (…)The first two or three rehearsals he took these big leaps, always got really much better, from having never done this kind of growl thing, with an aggressive voice. It was really cool to see how he developed and after just a week, he sounded like he does now!”. Soon Raise Hell managed to sign a record deal with a Swedish label Black Lodge, but unfortunately at the same time Torstein Wickberg decided to leave the group. In 2004 the remaining members recorded two demo songs (they were released in 2006 as the “To the Gallows” EP) and started working on another full-length release, this time at Tyroon Production studios with Jörgen Svensson as the producer. Finally, in 2006 Raise Hell returned with “City of the Damned” – their latest and most mature offering…
Throughout the years the group proved that metal can be perceived in more ways than one. With each of their albums being a completely different experience, Raise Hell is a perfect option for anyone who likes experimenting with different genres, with respect to the classic metal sound – “Holy Target”, “Not Dead Yet” and “Wicked Is My Game” altogether stand as some of the most unique albums on the Swedish metal scene. So join the madness and raise some hell!!

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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