Compilation Check: Hellhammer – Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D.

( Hellhammer is the pre-Celtic Frost act that is cited as one of the influences on black metal. Established in 1982, the band delivered a mix of black metal, thrash, and doom metal with each of their tracks featuring at least two of these elements. What’s interesting about Hellhammer and Tom G. Warrior’s musicianship is that he had the foundation for what could’ve gone on to release some incredible full-length material but used it as just a foundation for a band that would become a favorite of metalheads.

That isn’t to say Hellhammer was chopped liver, the demos and compilations all have gems and the quality of the recordings are decent enough to have been full-length releases in the 1980s. The main problem is that Hellhammer only has a couple of songs to its name and Warrior and Martin E. Ain we’re Celtic Frost-bound by 1984.

Compilation Check: Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D.

We’re going to take a super quick dip into the 1990 compilation Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D, a six-track selection of some of Hellhammer’s best. The band definitely has more songs as the Demon Entrails compilation shows. The reason we’re not going with DE is because disc two is the two 1983 demos while the first disc is the landmark Satanic Rites demo from that same year.

If anything, Hellhammer could’ve re-recorded some of the songs in the second disc that didn’t make the first—then again, Demon Entrails is a collection of demos. For Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D that would’ve been the play.

A-Side of Hellhammer – Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D

As always, we split the album into the A-side and B-side—which is odd in this case since it’s just 27-minutes with six tracks. Again, this is a quick dip, folks. The A-side kicks off with two dark, thrash pieces that simply ride. Usually, I don’t get that feel of a thrash album that rides unless it’s something with thrash influences like groove metal where there are thrashier songs but there’s a bounce to them.

Another good example of that “bounce” in meta is a lot of the drum and bass work in the early works of bands that came out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It’s all heavily reliant on the drums and the bass and most of the songs on Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D have something similar. As for the A-side; all of the tracks hit. I’m not even a big fan on lengthier songs unless it’s stoner doom but “Triumph of Death” works for me at over nine minutes.

On that note, “Triumph of Death” does have this aggressive doom metal approach down pat. If more doom sounded like this off the bat, I’d have an easier time going through full albums of it. Again, I’m a fan of fast and aggressive stuff.

Strongest Tracks: Massacra, Triumph of Death


Flipping the tape over and we find that it’s much of the same. Actually, Hellhammer had a distinct sound which was more varied in the Celtic Frost and the post-CF act Triptykon. The faster songs can all sound very similar and the lengthiest stands out because of its time. If it was in the under-five-minutes club it would sound like some of the other tracks.

When I originally listened to Demon Entrails, most songs had to be replayed in part because they end up bleeding into each other. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you were listening to an unusually lengthy Hellhammer tune. The B-side has songs that could’ve been on the A-side easily and the entire thing could be put on shuffle and still be enjoyed. Hell, you might even come up with a better tracklisting.

Strongest Tracks: Horus/Aggressor, Messiah**

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.