Are this dirty dozen the new Slipknot?
All photos by William Coutts
Hardcore is punk rock’s older, dirtier and greasier older brother, apt at fucking both apathy and social restriction in the arse. But recently, it’s been a bit shitty. So, when I heard “It’s The Motherfucking Hell (You Dick)” by The Hell, I felt like a hypodermic syringe injecting life into the UKHC scene needed before it slipped entirely into staleness.
Nothing is known about The Hell, except that they’re a twelve piece, who walk around wearing bandanas and balaclavas. Which must be really confusing if any of them have kids who they bring backstage at shows. The muscly, Pantera-influenced guitars, apocalyptic breakdowns and maniacal, hate-laden cast of vocalists on their debut record, You’re Listening To THE HELL, made it one of the strongest and unique hardcore records that I’ve heard all year.
Because I’m a purveyor of information to the people, I met The Hell in the middle of an industrial park in Watford. They carried axes and baseballs, which for some reason, made me feel at calm with the world.
After, we went to their recording studio surrounded by vinyls, fairy lights, and remnants of a Hawaiian party. Sadly, not all of the gang could make it, but Jackhammer, Nails, Early-Man, Silver Phantom, Bag Hound, Blue Jackal, Das Hon, Honey Badger and Paintorm were all in attendance. Although that didn’t mean that they wanted to talk. Black Mist took the reigns of the interview while the rest sat in silence, leering behind their bandanas. I’m sure one of them had fake hands.
Noisey: How would you describe your music?
Black Mist: We’re just a big ‘Fuck You’ in a band. It’s basically the heaviest thing that anyone’s going to hear, and probably the heaviest thing that people have wanted to hear in ages. We stand against pussies singing shit boy band choruses; it’s gone on for too long. We’re trying to do music that’s heavy for the sake of being heavy, that’s our thing.
How would you describe your live show? Have you done any with all the members?
We’ve done one show so far, at the Macbeth with Gallows. We didn’t know how it would go down but it was a fucking prison riot!
We don’t want to give too much away about our next gig, but there’s going to be plenty of vocalists and plenty of shit going down.
What are The Hell's major influences?
Nothing! We literally don’t want to do anything that anyone’s done before. We’ve found a sound that I don’t think anyone else has had the balls to do. We don’t look to any peers or influences.
What about non-musical influences?
Drugs and loose women.
What fuels your music? Hate? Fun?
More drugs, and hate. We’re just sick of dickheads pussyfooting around and trying to capture some big global market that isn’t really there. We’re a hardcore band and we’re going to play hardcore. We don’t give a shit about what some 14-year-old idiot likes or doesn’t like, that’s got nothing to do with our world.
Some of the album is pretty tongue-in-cheek, and what you write on Facebook is quite silly, are you a joke band?
No we’re not a joke! The music has always been serious. Me and Early-Man put the music down a long time ago. We didn’t want to waste the music on something that wasn’t wicked. It’s been a complete breath of fresh air for everyone that’s been involved in it. It’s basically a party every time we record. It’s a dozen guys that haven’t really shouted in other bands so it’s new for everybody and it’s really fucking fun!
The other obvious masked 12-piece band that spring to mind are Slipknot, are you the next Slipknot?
Man, that would be the best thing in the world! Slipknot, of all heavy metal bands of the last 20 years, have been the one that have carried on what they do with a little dignity and integrity. They’re still one of the heaviest bands out there. I remember liking it because it was so heavy, and the fact that they got big because it was so fucking heavy is amazing! That first album has its catchy moments but it’s a full-on metal album.
Is that what you guys are going for?
I don’t give a fuck if anyone likes it or not to be honest with you, fuck it.
What would your dream line-up be?
Pantera, Sepultura before they split up into 50,000 awful bands, Finlay Quaye and The Lighthouse Family.
You’ve got a song called “I’ve never seen a Jackal on the 142”, is ‘Jackal’ slang for something?
It’s a bit misguided… It’s a wild dog. It’s an actual wild dog, I think from South Africa. The idea behind that song is about these fucking dickheads jumping on some bandwagon doing a band and making them sound like Southern Rock revival bullshit. You drive a 1.2., you phony fucking cowboy scum.
The lyric “You live in Milton Keynes with your mum and your dad and your gran. Your dirty fucking gran!” is it aimed at anybody?
No, it’s just a local shithole. Milton Keynes should just be swallowed into the ground.
This is really weird but, why did I see a photo of Bill Bailey wearing one of your t-shirts?
Bill may or may not be in The Hell, unfortunately I’m not at liberty to say.
Fair enough. It’s a pretty obvious band name, there’s another band called The Hell, one called Hell and another called This Is Hell, does this not bother you?
I’ve got to be careful what I say… Hell are in that school of bands where suddenly they’re getting booked for loads of festivals and shit because they’re a classic thrash band. That’s a different area altogether from us so we don’t really care about them. I also don’t care about anyone else called The Hell because it has got nothing to do with us. Yeah, there’s The Hell with Matt Skiba and Atom Willard that have come about recently but fuck ‘em because we came up with it first.
Why ‘The Hell’? Are you Satanists? Are you into the occult?
No because that’s really current as well. Fuck that. ‘The Hell’ doesn’t make any sense and it sounds wicked.
Why are you so mysterious?
Because it should be about the fucking music and I think music should be entertaining! I think the focus on what bands look like and who they are is wrong. I want to get away from all that shit people ask in magazines like what our favourite fucking cartoon character is or whatever. We don’t care about any of that stuff.
What’s your favourite cartoon character?
Fuck off, haha.
So is the ‘mystery’ not a gimmick?
Nah, I don’t think anyone would be fussed even if we did unmask ourselves.
Any last words?
No. Fuck everybody. Go and get the album. We’ve also got some shows coming up, see you there.
Follow Jak on Twitter @Jak_TH