Hellevate, The Purpose Is Cruelty (2023)

Kansas City thrash band Hellevate crack the whip on their latest EP, The Purpose Is Cruelty.

Hellevate has been shaking the earth for more than a decade. Their self-titled EP came out in 2008, a herald for the likewise labeled full-length record that landed four years later. Over the years, the band wrestled with a few line-up disruptions, but the music kept flowing with another long-player in 2016, Weapons Against Their Will, and a second EP a couple years back. Hellevate is Robert Browne (vocals), Joshua Cole (guitar), Dan Whitmer (guitar), Zack Burke (bass), and R. J. Whitmer (drums).

“The Purpose is Cruelty” announces the set in grand style, with a dramatic ramp and voiceover. When the music kicks, it kicks hard. Talkative vocals lay down the law and the rhythm section keeps everything on track. The baseline is monster, and the two-part lead guitar break inspires confidence. “Dagon” digs in on mysticism, swinging weaponized riffs. Fantasy joins the thrashing for a harrowing ride. “Buried Under Mistakes” is like waking up beneath an overpass with a splitting headache, trying to put last night together in your head and not having much luck. The song is melodic thrash, offering singable moments fans will immediately embrace.

“Die or Be Killed” is a fire-spitting mold breaker. The music has a rising quality to it you used to hear sometimes in dark metal way back when. Here, though, the spin is decidedly modern, and the exit ramp is an oddity. The curtain comes down on “(No) Further Action is Required.” The voiceover is back. This time, however, it is breaking up and the wheels seemed to have come off. The music has a more aggressive quality to it, and the vocals are determined. This EP is a keeper, with excellent thrash that will get your pulse up. Recommended.

The Purpose Is Cruelty is out on Saturday, January 14th – grab it at Bandcamp.


Bandcamp, https://hellevate.bandcamp.com/album/the-purpose-is-cruelty

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/hellevate

© Wayne Edwards

Hellevate, The Purpose Is Cruelty (2023)

Turned To Stone Chapter III, Wizzerd vs. Merlin (Ripple Music 2021)

Ripple Music’s battle split series Turned To Stone throws down on Chapter Three with Wizzerd vs. Merlin.

The previous Turned To Stone splits are Chapter 1: Enter Galactic Wasteland by Mr Bison / Spacetrucker and Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa by Howling Giant / Sergeant Thunderhoof. These both came out in 2020 and they are magnificent musical pairings. As with Chapter 2, this new release has each band contributing a single song that runs a full side length.

From Kalispell, Montana, Wizzerd goes toward the fuzzy psychedelic realm with their entry, “We Are.” It starts out with forest creatures in the background and an acoustic guitar on its own. It is a slow build from there. Soon enough the electric fuzz kicks in and we are rolling. There are many movements, expansions, and explorations over the course of nineteen minutes. It is a beautiful and curious thing.

Merlin, from Kansas City, Missouri, has a more epic- and quest-like take on their side, “Merlin’s Bizarre Adventure.” I got a Grail lore feeling on the opening notes. The vocals are very mysterious and a little disturbing. This one is a trip, too, but of a whole different kind. There is a peppy jazzy break fairly early in the twenty-two minute run and it is an identity that returns. Toward the end the spooky comes back. Well done.

I love this split series because it either introduces me to bands I didn’t know before or gives me new music from bands I already follow. The synergy of the artistic twinning is icing on the cake. Recommended.

This one is out now. On the digital album, there is also a single edit of each song if you are short on time. Check out Ripple Music’s site or Bandcamp.


Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/turned-to-stone-chapter-iii-wizzerd-vs-merlin

Wizzerd Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wizzerddoom

Wizzerd Bandcamp, https://wizzerd.bandcamp.com/

Merlin Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MERLIN666

Merlin Bandcamp, https://merlin666.bandcamp.com/

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Turned To Stone Chapter III, Wizzerd vs. Merlin (Ripple Music 2021)