To Hell And Back

rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. To Hell And Back
02. Don't Get Mad… Get Even!
03. Wicked Disdain
04. Free Us All
05. Heavy Is The Crown
06. Walk With Me Forever
07. Dead Inside
08. The Mark Of Cain
09. In The Hall Of The Hanging Serpents
10. Severance

Best known as a member of ENTOMBED A.D.'s final lineup, guitarist Guilherme Miranda clearly means serious business. DIETH sees the Brazilian team up with ex-MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, and if nothing else, "To Hell And Back" is an absolute feast for fans of the great man's playing. With former DECAPITATED drummer Michal Łysejko completing this chrome-plated power trio, these songs are as devastatingly precise and powerful as expected.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that DIETH lean more heavily into death metal than Ellefson's involvement might have suggested, with blackened flashes and moments of progressive fervor thrown in for disorientating measure. Ellefson has never lent his talents to anything quite this heavy before, and there is undeniable joy in hearing him throw down over such brutal backing. But while "To Hell And Back" is satisfyingly extreme (and at least half a world away from MEGADETH),  it has also been polished to a blinding, irresistible sheen. These songs sound big, bold, catchy and ambitious as a result, instantly batting away the notion that this is just another time-killing side-project.

The opening title track neatly sums up the essence of DIETH's fresh formula. This is grandiose, melodic death metal with progressive trimmings and vocals belched from the depths of Hell. It's uncomplicated, but undeniable. DIETH sound imperious from the start. "Don't Get Mad… Get Even!" might be a teensy bit goofier than the title track, but it delivers another jolting slap to the forehead; this time with the thrash quotient upped considerably, and a bonus dash of PRONG-like crossover crunch. Miranda's growls have authority galore, and his clarity and power add much to DIETH's potential. "Wicked Disdain" is a grim and grotesque death metal epic with more than a hint of MORBID ANGEL, but the Floridians were never this groovy. "Free Us All" is a riotous chunk of old-school DM, elevated by Miranda's mellifluous, proggy soloing, a wickedly laidback mid-song detour and some righteous and frosty machine-gun riffing. "Heavy Is The Crown" begins as a big, fat, post-SABBATH skirmish, but it mutates into deathly devilry midway through, snapping back into an Iommian groove, as Miranda's deadpan cleans and furious snarl exchange bitter pleasantries.

The wheels do come off momentarily, during Ellefson's much-feted debut as a lead vocalist, "Walk With Me Forever". It's a decent song and he has a strong voice, but thanks in part to an extremely radio-friendly, AOR-tinged chorus, it feels a little out of place and out of touch with all that surrounds it. The day is immediately saved by "Dead Inside", which restores DIETH's aggressive edge, while boasting the best / gnarliest riff on the whole record. "The Mark Of Cain" is even better: with shades of HYPOCRISY and Łysejko at full pelt, Miranda's profound grasp of death metal's unearthly power is on full display.

"In The Hall Of The Hanging Serpents" repeats the trick at a manic mid-pace; a classy collision between melo-death and groove-driven thrash, with a hard-on for circle pits and fists in the air. The closing "Severance" — an elegant, wistful instrumental — soundtracks the bruised and bloody comedown from all that pugilistic pomp.

Although not without its flaws, "To Hell And Back" gets nearly everything right, and DIETH's subtly original first blueprint sounds ripe for further exploration. Plus, it's great to hear Ellefson back at it and having the time of his life.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).