Hellbringer is a new Australian thrash metal band formed in Canberra in 2007. They were formerly known as Forgery but changed their name to Hellbringer in 2010 because of a then quite popular Norwegian band by the name.
While still operating as Forgery, they issued a self-financed EP in 2009. Drummer Josh Bennett explains: “That's correct. That was our first 'proper' recording if you like. We went in and recorded all our original songs which we had at the time and then released it as a CD ourselves to sell at shows, some online etc.”
The majority of the tracks was later re-issued on a vinyl album put out by Iron Pegasus Records. “Here is where some people get confused though”, warns Josh. “It's actually exactly the same as the 2009 EP which was done under the name Forgery. The difference is that it has two new bonus tracks. One which was a newer original song ('Screams from the Catacombs') and an Armoured Angel cover ('My Fist your Face'). Both us and Iron Pegasus thought it would be a good idea to re-release it onto vinyl now that we had a label. Some people do confuse it for an album because of its length but we still refer to it as an EP.”
With Antichrist, Dr. Living Dead, Beehler, Alcoholator (to name but a few) High Roller Records already has a high-quality roster of thrash metal acts. Hellbringer are very well aware of this fact: “That's one of the reasons we wanted High Roller to do the album. We have always been a fan of the label and many of the bands that get released under it. It's a very well respected and popular label with a solid roster of bands. Antichrist's album is one of the best recent thrash releases! It's a label I've also known about for quite sometime and buy a lot of my stuff from!”
“Dominion of Darkness” is Hellbringer's first album for High Roller Records. It has been engineered by Harris Johns (Sodom, Kreator, Voivod, Tankard etc.).
Over the years Australia has produced some fine thrash metal acts, beginning with Mortal Sin, Hobb's Angel of Death, Armoured Angel, Destroyer 666 or High Roller's own Assaulter. According to Josh Bennett some of the mentioned bands have definitely been an influence on Hellbringer: “'Mayhemic Destruction' is a classic Aussie release! And of course, we worship Armoured Angel! We covered their song 'My Fist your Face' on our EP. Our own 'Dominion of Darkness' album has its fair share of Destroyer 666, Armoured Angel and Gospel of the Horns influences which is to be expected! However, we tend to keep a more straight up thrash sound than bands like Destroyer 666 and Gospel of the Horns I suppose. It is still very black tinged though as I'm sure you can hear.”
If you study the lyrcis of songs like “Bell of the Antichrist”, “The Rites of Evil” and “Satanic Destructor” I think of Venom first and foremost. “We have never been about writing deep and meaningful lyrics”, confesses Josh. “We just write lyrics that suit our music and take influences from stuff like in old Slayer, Possessed and of course Venom.”
Musically speaking, Hellbringer adore original European thrash metal innovators such as Kreator and some American thrash acts like Possessed and Slayer. Josh adds: “I wouldn't say we really have too many Bay Area influences besides Possessed . We have always been influenced by European thrash.”
Just like early Exciter, Tank and Motörhead Canberra's Hellbringer are a classic three-piece killing machine. “Well, we have always liked the idea of being a three-piece”, finds Josh Bennett. “Some of our favourite bands were/are three-pieces. Sodom, Motörhead, Armoured Angel etc. I wouldn't say it influences our style greatly but I have always thought there is something 'heavy' about a three-piece. But overall, we have never really been interested in a second guitarist.”
Since putting out their self-financed debut EP Hellbringer have refined their sound considerably. You can hear that on songs like “Deceiver's Chamber” or the title track “Dominion of Darkness”. Josh Bennett confirms: “We've definitely progressed since recording the EP. Of course it's still evil thrash metal but the material is a lot more well written and thought out. It's much better and stronger. A lot of hard work went into writing the new songs. We were quite young and still in school when we wrote some of the old EP tracks so we have definitely also progressed as musicians since then.”