Formed in Algeria by vocalist Reduoane Aouameur in 2010, they quickly took to the Algerian extreme metal scene until finally releasing their debut album in 2013, “Al Insane…The (Re) Birth Of Abderrahmane”; conceptually based on the divine Muslim name closest to Allah. 2018 sees them return with the 2nd part of the concept via the album “ALIF”; the first letter of the Arabian alphabet, symbolic of beginnings, as Abderrahmane takes his first steps in a new life, akin to a child learning to walk and speak…let’s check it out.
The album kicks off with “Paramnesia” in a very literal sense as immediately we’re met with a flurry of double-kick drums, leading into rumbling bass riffs and intense, chugging guitar. The build while gradual still manages to sound heavy without yet truly letting rip, until Reduoane’s vocals kick in and his guttural grumbling’s allow the track to become a barrage of death metal which is impressively sustained throughout. The occasional guitar lick incorporates subtle African tones which break up the technical brutality quite well, providing a decent if not slightly regimented start. “Ignis Fatuus” follows up and right away we’re subject to more up-tempo, thrash-inspired speed metal and for the most part the vocals take on more of a rasping snarl; full of piss and vinegar highlighting an anger and bitterness fueled by false hope.
The rest of the album really speaking then, delivers mostly more of the same over its ten-track run time…bar a couple of select notable points. “Insiraf / Martyr” utilises an off-kilter poly-rhythmic approach that takes influence from the realms of prog-metal…”Adam The First” while sounding incredibly sludgy does have an wonderfully frenetic guitar solo that breaks things up nicely…”Thou Shalt Not Kill” is a great orchestral-led piece full of rich strings sounding almost cinematic, but sadly it’s no more than a 30 second intro / interlude track which is a real shame, as its sense of drama and suspense is honestly intriguing, before closing track “Impunity Of The Mutants” rounds things off embracing some semi-Nordic darkness courtesy of blast-beats and sinister guitar tones, something fans of say, IMMORTAL or early SATYRICON would appreciate. Overall from a technical standpoint Lelahell have to be applauded as for the most part they sound crisp, there’s some solid production here and it’s all aided by the fact renowned death metal sticks-man Hannes Grossmann (HATE ETERNAL / NECROPHAGIST) has recorded drums for them, though they aren’t a one-man team. If you prefer your metal as harsh and unforgiving as the Sahara desert at midday with nothing but your own piss to drink, you’ll likely appreciate this and it’s extreme metal nuances…if you’re looking for more melody in your metal then this isn’t likely going to do much for you.