Line-up: Paul – guitar, vocal, Mark - guitar, Michael – bass guitar, Szymon - drums
Band Pandemonium from Poland is considered to be a legend, not only by our northern neighbors. Till 1995, when they renamed to Domain, they stood alongside with elite of Polish metal scene led by such bands as Vader or Behemoth. But with the change of name and with slightly different genre orientation they drove off the original fans in a way. These fans but got alert in 2004, because the band came back again to their original name. So the fans expected also the return to bands original style, presented especially on cult demo "Devilri". However with album "The Zonei" Pandemonium reminded more of post-black industialists Samael, more than punching dark metal crew from nineties. But in 2007 they come with next album called "Hellspawn" and that’s another cup of tea for sure.
The whole album gets opened by song with symptomatic name "Frost". And indeed there’s kind of freezing feeling in it, because this beginning clearly indicates that Pandemonium is back home after all the escapades. The uncertainty and bashfulness from the start are replaced by explosions of euphoria and absolute relaxation. "Hellspawn" really can work that way. First you’ll just quietly and carefully step in, so that you wouldn’t get excited and then disappointed again. Well, no way. Gone are the days of electronic sounds and drum machines. This is again beautifully live, raw and especially roughly metal, with typically dark atmosphere, as one expected from Pandemonium. The new drummer Szymon came from very good death/grind band Alienacja and here he shows his skills in full light. Co-founder and original drummer Piotr "Zuber" Zubrzycki would surely enjoy his drumming as well as the whole album, which is dedicated to his memory (he died in 1997).
The music runs as it should and fast double bass drum parts sound as well in slower parts – nice contrast, as well in faster parts. Freezing sound of guitars uncompromisingly cuts in ears and the gloomy atmosphere slowly sneaks into "Hellspawn". After several listenings I stand astounded over opening part of "Hatesound Eternal", which perversely reminds me of "Running Free" from Iron Maiden. I can’t really help hearing it there. In spite of that it is one of the best songs of the album. Next "Die Hard" is one of my favorites. Middle tempo song with pretty earthy death metal riff. From just another corner comes the closing piece "Furious Dogs". The most brutal and wild song in the history of band, which decapitates the unprepared with no mercy. But it wouldn’t be Pandemonium, when they’d forget to dense the atmosphere pretty much in slower interlude.
Shortly, the album "Hellspawn" is pretty balanced, isn’t too gaudy, so one can digest it already during the first listening. But it doesn’t mean that it would grow boring in the time. At least it wasn’t so with me. The original fans will enjoy this album for a long time and probably they’ll say that the cult demo "Devilri" was overcome at last. It is my personal opinion at least. I hope that it wasn’t from Pandemonium just such a remembrance for long passed times and that the next album will go in the same spirit.