HELLBENDER Album Review: “American Nightmare”

Album Review by Iron Mathew


Hellbender are a thrash metal band from the USA formed in 2011, releasing the seven song E.P. ‘Falling Down’ in 2016, and their first full length album ‘American Nightmare’ in 2020.

Featuring a groove style of thrash metal, Hellbender offer eight songs in a little over thirty minutes – kicking off with the up tempo battering of ‘Left With Nothing’. Launching a fiery mix of industrial, groove, thrash, crossover style of metal, ‘Left With Nothing’ has attitude, and a thumping rhythm that is infectious and addictive, making you go “yea, this is good”. And I agree, yea it is good… ‘Pure Hate’ is slower, but heavier, and has that foot stomping attitude. Imagine how a love child of a Pantera and Fear Factory tryst would sound like! And that’s Hellbender!

Picking up the pace, ‘Born Dead’ thunders forth with attitude, aggression, and a little of the punkish metal style of legends Motorhead. The variation in pace and tempo across the first three songs are a glorious way to introduce yourself to the metal community. Fans all over the world are gonna warm to Hellbender very quickly. Opening with news reel footage of a raging forest fire, ‘Rosa’ is as hot and unpredictable as a fire. ‘Rosa’ burns at different speeds, with slow to fast passages, and aggression and attitude levels swinging high and low. The heavy hitting ‘End Of Days’ shows the bands industrial crossover influence blending perfectly with the infectious roar of the thrash metal groove. Come on guys and gals – time to get your groove on…

Now then – I got a little confused for a moment here…let me explain – the track listing on the digital download I received states “track 6. Winters Bone… track 7. American Nightmare…”. Err no…track 6 is ‘American Nightmare’. Not sure what order the official physical CD is in, but ‘American Nightmare’ has a much more menacing feel as it rumbles into life, adopting the most moody foot stomp the album has to offer. A much more upfront and in your face vibe than anywhere else on the album, ‘American Nightmare’ is a venom spitting joyride. ‘Winters Bone’ offers more of the same, with heavy guitars lacerating the airways and delivering skull crushing blows. Closing the album is the aggression fuelled ‘In Hell’. Bringing a heavy hitting attitude to the curtain closer, Hellbender offer a varied array of metal menace, including the chant style repeated lyric “i’ll see you all in hell” – and I’m sure we will!

Overall, a cracking blend of groove, industrial, and thrash metal, Hellbender have impressed greatly with their debut album.


Left With Nothing
Pure Hate
Born Dead
End Of Days
Winters Bone
American Nightmare
In Hell


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