While Hailshot has been branded as a stoner/doom band in some metal circles, the Milford, Indiana group shows off more thrash and sludge influence on their second album. This is made immediately evident with the opening tracks, as “Baptized in Sulphur” and “March to Extinction” mix fast-paced riffs with hardcore breakdowns and gruff vocals in less than three minutes time. Thankfully these executions are more on the side of Leviathan-era Mastodon than Pantera or Machine Head.
But once “Pull the Curtain” kicks in toward the end of the first half, the track proves to be quite aptly named as its slow but steady pace reveals different influences coming up to surface. From there, “Void of Visions” integrates mid-tempo southern metal grooves with Ripper Owens-style wails to surprisingly successful effect, while tracks like “Blood Eagle” and “The Evil Within” work with more slapdash song structures and tempo shifts.
Fortunately the band members’ performances help the varied styles at work stay consistent. The guitar keeps things grounded due to a fuzzy, chunky tone and an intricate set of rhythms and leads while the drums adjust the tempo changes quite smoothly. In addition, the vocals are talented enough to keep from sounding like they’re trying too hard to be versatile. The harsher vocals never sound obnoxious and while the baritone cleans on “Unto Oblivion” border on a metalcore style, their confidence helps them steer away from the trappings of the style.
Overall, Baptized in Sulphur sees Hailshot operating with a style that is varied while still remaining efficient. A more shuffled track listing would probably have made the album easier to get into as a whole, but the slapdash presentation does go well with the unhinged performances and different song styles on display. With any luck, Hailshot’s mult-genre assault will continue to mystify listeners in the process of pummeling them to rubble.
“Void of Visions”
“The Evil Within”
“Black Friday Stomp”