Album Review: Hang The Bastard – 2009-2012

It can be a tough time when a band loses a member; a slight change in a line up can cause a huge change in sound, the loss of a vocalist can be the most severe. The vocalist essentially makes or breaks a band for me and a change in the voice of a band can be the most detrimental to the career they have already built. 

Fortunately this year bands like Gallows and Turbonegro have released new albums with new vocalists and their success and praise has been positive and strong. Away from the big rock press, Hang The Bastard have also been going through the same change with Mike Carver (ex-Deal With It) taking up where Chris ‘Barlow’ Barling left off. 

To commemorate the end of the first chapter in the bands career; Holy Roar have released  ‘2009-2012’, a mammoth 30 track release covering the bands career with Barling fronting the band. This expansive release covers everything from exclusive demo tracks, out of print split EP’s, their phenomenal début album ‘Hellfire Reign’ to their most recent self titled release on Thirty Days of Night. It is a collection which provides a retrospective view of one of the UK’s finest metal bands and as they round up this chapter of their career, 2013 is going to be the “Year of the Bastard”.

The first ten tracks you may recognise from the bands 2009 release ‘Hellfire Reign’ a blend of thrash inspired guitars, mind bending solos, crushing rhythm and Barling’s brutal vocal assault. Tracks like ‘The Blackest Eyes’ still sound fresh; the frantic guitars in the introduction are still ear piercingly loud and the drive of the rhythm guitar is pure riff worship. And who can forget that ending? The  pace of the guitars, and the group chants of “Hellfire. Hellfire Reign” still sounds amazing two years after its initial release.

After a perfect introduction to this bands career, we are treated to two exclusive demo’s of ‘Doomed Fucking Doomed’ and ‘Awaken Ye Heathens’ which would later appear on their first EP (‘Raw Sorcery’) released in 2009 through Never Healed Records. These demo’s illustrate how this band demonstrated a unique creativity and a potential at such an early stage in their career. ‘Doomed Fucking Doomed’ switches between the thrashy intro blended with the hardcore/Holy Terror style growl straight into a riff-laden stoner influenced section, making the track unpredictable and interesting from the first note struck.

The demo’s are followed by ‘Raw Sorcery,’ an EP I hadn’t actually listened to until this discography, and this is what I mean, this release is perfect for people who maybe got into HTB later on in their career and may have missed out certain releases. ‘Raw Sorcery’ is more metal orientated with thrash being more prominent, but that is not to say it is a one dimensional release. On the contrary tracks like ‘Pillage Your Village’ show how well-rounded this band are, with the riffs flowing slowly and the bark as ferocious as ever you can’t help but bang your head in appreciation. 

As well as these releases, we are also treated to their efforts from splits with Brutality Will Prevail and Abolition and trust me these are ridiculously hard to come by; I just googled the releases and they’re near impossible to find unless you search Ebay and pay a high amount. 

The Discography is rounded off by this years mind-blowing self titled release. It is a piece of work which saw HTB step everything about them up a notch; the riffs are heavier, the production crisper, the vocals sound more evil and angrier. They had struck gold with this release; it certainly worked as a precursor to what was to come before we knew of Barling’s departure. From the heavy introduction, that breaking riff which emits so much power and ferocity setting up the EP to be something completely special. Transcending into ‘Interplanetary Portals,’ the vocals sound the most aggressive they have done with a pacing guitar riff which just induces head banging movement.

Listening over this discography you find yourself with hidden gems, a musical bombardment of a band who from their inception have always proven they are something special, the music speaks for itself. 

30 tracks is a long listen, and I can guarantee your neck is going to feel it afterwards but you couldn’t ask for a more fitting way to celebrate a band’s foundations. Having already experienced twice the presences of new vocalist Mike Carver, I am waiting with anticipation for their new release. If you have neglected Hang The Bastard so far, now is time to rectify it before you miss out on one of the most exciting UK acts.


‘2009-2012’ by Hang The Bastard is available now on Holy Roar Records.

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Words by Robert Maddison (@bertmaddison)


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