Honest Crooks – The Sounds of Hell (Album Review)
Honest Crooks – The Sounds of Hell
Released: February 10th 2023
Brodie Graham // Vocals
Calum Johnstone // Guitar
Sam McCloud // Drums
Lewy Glass // Bass
Honest Crooks online:
Formed in 2014, NSW/ACT-based hardcore quartet Honest Crooks have worked long and hard on the path to their debut full-length. At the heavier end of metalcore, Honest Crooks combine hardcore-style vocals and beatdowns-aplenty with death metal-leaning drumming and trem-picked guitars. With their profile being raised in the recent months thanks to national supports with Xibalba, Kublai Khan TX and Justice For The Damned, the four piece have finally pulled the trigger on their first LP, The Sounds of Hell.
Things are immediately off to a strong start with opener ‘Welcome Home’. With the first half featuring a murky clean guitar pattern, a wall of blastbeats and chugging riffs exploding through, alongside furious vocals and a huge breakdown following right behind. A massive sign of intent of the release to follow and a potential devastating live opener. Following numbers ‘The Reckoning’ and ‘The Cure’ keep the momentum moving with quickened pace and more groove-oriented riffs. ‘The Cure’ in particular is disgustingly heavy – certainly far more brutal than anything Robert Smith ever penned. The death metal-inspired ‘Furnace of Rage’ bursts open with a flurry of drum strokes and fast guitar runs, while ‘Serpent of Old’, one of the first tasters of the album dropping back in 2022 slots perfectly into the rest of the record with it’s pounding beatdowns. Production-wise it’s impossible to fault; The Sounds of Hell sounds huge, and is brimming with raw energy and power. A sterile-sounding release would have neutered the songs – keeping the tunes warts and all makes them even nastier.
The Sounds of Hell definitely has some chest-beating, alpha male energy going on – but it’s aggression and violence drive Honest Crooks to create some of their heaviest music to date. The band are also showing signs of growth too, with the debut’s closing trilogy arguably the best material written by them to date. The sample-driven ‘…And The Skies Are Filled With Fire’ is apocalyptically heavy, serving as a nice introduction to the LP’s title track.
New single ‘The Sounds of Hell’ keeps the crushing weight coming, adding a more morose and doom metal vibe. The introduction of Crowbar-esque cleans helps break up the vocals, which are otherwise fairly one-flavoured. ‘Burn Eternal’ closes out this record with another slab of vitriol, with the neck-snapper a fantastic choice of single and a huge way to wrap up proceedings.
Honest Crooks have delivered an extremely solid debut album with The Sounds of Hell. The listener is pulled back into repeated listens with it’s unbridled intensity – no cleans, no melodic pandering, just pure heavy. It’s short, fast and furious, with huge breakdowns and some seriously armageddon-summoning sounds – the ending trifecta is particularly mountainous. It’s a little one-dimensional at times, but the songs are strong enough to look over that. Honest Crooks have all the potential to turn some serious heads both locally and abroad with their brutal and filthy assault. The Sounds of Hell will hopefully be a big release for one of Australia’s hottest and heaviest acts.
Honest Crooks – The Sounds of Hell tracklisting
1. Welcome Home
2. The Reckoning
3. The Cure
4. Serpent of Old
6. Furnace of Rage
7. …And The Skies Are Filled With Fire
8. The Sounds of Hell
9. Burn Eternal
The Sounds of Hell is out February 10th on EVP Recordings. Order here
Review By – Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper