Is there any album angrier than Hellmouth’s first album “Destroy Everything Worship Nothing”? If there are, they are few and far between and held in mutual high regard by punk rockers everywhere (i.e. the Negative Approach s/t 7”, Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’ and ‘My War’, Hated Youth’s ‘Hardcore Rules’ 7”, Poison Idea’s ‘Pick Your King’ 7”, and so on). Now, there is one for Hellmouth to add to that list: Their second full-length, Gravestone Skylines. The sheer anger and doom is a marriage Ozzy Osbourne and Henry Rollins could only imagine. This is one of the best, most powerful albums of the last decade, possibly the last fifteen years. Nowhere else is leukemic disgust and intense instrumentation coitally united so well to give birth to a genre appropriately called misanthropic hardcore thrash.
One of the album’s greatest focus points is the move towards a more metallic sound guitar-wise; the riffs, although with a remembrance of hardcore youth, are much more borne of Slayer rather than the Circle Jerks or the Germs. Still, the metal sound is no less powerful or energetic. The music still evokes the subconscious sadomasochistic tendencies of man, arousing the desire to rip out one’s own skin and the skin of all surrounding humanity alike. There is no optimism here. There’s a time and a place for positivity, and this is not it; nothing nice to say indeed. The rhythm section is pummeling and punishing; the bass and drums are the perfect background noise for singer Jason Navarro to spew his pessimistic, nihilistic, sincere bile. This record is not merely misanthropic hardcore thrash; it is a blueprint of a scorched earth solution for mankind, a collection of maxims and arrows for the modern day to live by. This album also (as though it didn’t do enough) serves a dual purpose: It is simultaneously empowering and unifying. It unifies listeners in its unfiltered misanthropic messages, and in its own twisted way, nihilistically shouts, “Yes, you can!” Both the transcendental individual and the cult cipher will be spoken to and receive their respective interpretations of the same message.
This record is much more than an excellent collection of misanthropic hardcore thrash songs to listen to and consume; it is empowering pessimism incarnate. Inevitably, the world will end and you will die. The question put forth by this album, and the one to be answered is, “Will you die on your knees or will you die on your feet?”