Italy's hardcore hellektro-house duo Mr. K and Splattaboy first emerged from the extreme metal scene – a transition they share with several horror-styling dance music artists, including FEARNET fave Drop Goblin – before eventually finding their current calling as purveyors of Satanic club grooves, with a heavy emphasis on horror atmospheres and monster bass lines. Adopting the diabolical handle Belzebass, the team rose to prominence partly thanks to a lineup of well-received remixes, including tracks from their Freakz Me Out label-mates Cyberpunkers (whose horror EP Shock we reviewed back in November). The devilish duo returns next week with a new unholy offering: the heavier, more polished three-track EP Welcome to Hell, which is equal parts haunting, violent and strangely exhilarating.
Majestic synth and organ chords herald the opening of “Black in Back” (that's not a typo, and this is not an AC/DC cover), which wastes no time before pushing the limits of buzzy, skull-slamming distorted bass bursts on either side of a surprisingly mellow Goblin-like interlude, closing on a tense, '80s horror-style synth arpeggio:
Slasher music motifs continue in the industrial noise and breathing effects of the darkly atmospheric title track, which definitely boasts the strongest and most memorable rhythm on the EP, with devastating mega-bass buzzing violently across the stereo field at the midpoint, calling to mind the monster wasp depicted on the cover art. The set is rounded out by the urgent high-tempo “Methematic,” which finds the band partnered up with Spanish heavy house/noise unit Dubsidia for a three-act progression that opens on a springy minimalist beat and more gothic organ touches before scattering into a bass burst of creepy, robotic croaks.
Photo: Hip Kingdom
While it's not as overtly scary as the band's previous releases Under Torture or Rise of Brutality, Welcome to Hell is still a step up in production quality, while showcasing the same lean, no-frills style that puts them in good company with their dark dance music peers; the title track is a particularly strong effort that should be welcome in any hellektro, terror EBM or similar horror-themed club rotations. You can find out for yourself when the record drops next Tuesday, February 4th via Freakz Me Out Records... and be sure to stay tuned for a bloody horror-themed music video for the title track, coming soon!