Lelahell – Alif (Album Review)

Lelahell is a 3 piece Algerian Death Metal band formed in 2010. Their new album Alif is 10 tracks released on 15th June 2018 on Metal Age Productions.

Alif is the bands 2nd album and the follow up to their first full-length release Al Insane, with both albums following the conceptual storyline of central character Abderrahame and his evolution through life as he learns about the world around him and the inherent dangers and pitfalls it entails.

Instrumentally, the performances are precise on all fronts, the drums, masterfully performed by Hannes Grossmann [ex Necrophagist, ex Obscura] are quite fast even for this genre and are very well played, with machine precision blast beats and double kicks a highlight.

The guitar playing is interesting throughout the album, with creative instrumental sections and leads interspersed between the vocal sections of the tracks. Vocalist/Guitarist Lelahell seems intent on bringing something unique and creative to his solo guitar parts and his rhythm playing is also very solid.

The first track Paramnesia is mid-tempo grinding Classic Death Metal, bordering on the Brutal Technical genre. Although not immediately catchy, it sets a solid standard before getting into the faster tracks on the album.

Track two, Ignis Fatuus opens up the style of the band more and sets the theme for what is to come. This is a brutal and fast-paced number with the relentless drum blasts and tremolo guitars forming a tight and sinister melody, very much worth a listen!

Thou Shalt Not Kill a foreboding 30-second instrumental piece provides the introduction to one of the fastest tracks on the album Ribat Essalem. Bordering on Black Metal, this track showcases dissonant tremolo picking, surging rhythms and creative guitar soloing.

This leads us to the standout track of the album Adam The First. 4:30 of shifting rhythms, speed and brutality with some odd time changes and atmospheric instrumental passages to mix things up.
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Track six, ironically titled The Fifth provides some wicked blast beats and changes of tempo, with some of the fastest instrumental sections on the whole album.

Insiraf/Martyr throws a curveball with its melodic intro and stuttering drums disarming the listener but then moves into decimating speed and precision.

As the album continues, Lelahell continues to turn up the brutality and speed, with solid tracks until its conclusion.

The album production is tight, with no obvious flaws in any aspect. To some peoples taste the drums may have something of a generic sound with the obviously triggered kick and snare sounds, but that is par for the course with this style of music and the cymbals sound fantastic.

I do feel that the album art looks a little underdone and though its simplicity is effective, it does not immediately invite the listener into the world of central character Abderrahame, and for a concept album, this would seem imperative.

Though not the most original release I have heard, LelahellAlif is a high-level entry into the Classic Death, Brutal Death genre and would appeal to fans of Deicide, Suffocation, Behemoth, Malevolent Creation etc. This is no-nonsense well-produced Death Metal and is to be respected.
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Even if it does not provide too many new surprises it is worth a listen for the drums and guitar playing alone.

Lelahell: Facebook

Release Year: 2018
Label: Metal Age Records
Category: Album
Country: Algeria

Reviewed by Jimmy LaCobra