Album Review: A Place to Call Hell by Basterds (Self Released)

Canadian metalcore 5 piece, Basterds, have released their debut full length, A Place to Call Hell independently on the 4th of June this year.

And what a debut it is too. A fiery and furious mix of all that is good in metalcore but with plenty of diversions towards the heavier deathcore sound on the way. The Drummondville, Quebec based band are Jim on vocals, Kev and Sam on guitars, SP on bass and Yan on drums. A Place to Call Hell follows the band’s well received debut EP, Deliver Me which was released in May 2020.

I didn’t know much about Basterds beforehand but I do now, and they have made one hell of an impression with A Place to Call Hell.

Basterds A Place to Call Hell band

We open with the title track, A Place to Call Hell, and it takes all of about 5 seconds to understand Basterds style. Punchy metalcore but on the heavier side with hook driven songs, breakdowns aplenty and higher pitched melodic guitar melody. While that may give you worries of a formulaic album fear not, this is awesome. The opener hits so hard with crunchy metallic riffs, powerful bass lines and drums that shake you to the core. The vocals are hard hitting and full off force and all that heaviness gets gelled together gloriously as the chorus arrives full of catchiness and an attention grabbing lead guitar melody. This is good metal.

Basterds definitely lean towards the heavier edge, occasionally jumping more into deathcore, at least for moments. Ruthless Waters is a vicious track with furious vocals and some really neat riffs and a growled “woo” that sounds a bit like “woof” which if nothing else, is funny. Anyway back to this fiery little beast of a track and if you aren’t headbanging along by now, you might be broken.

New Design is another violent rager with mad pace and switches to slower slams. The drums are insanely good and the vocals reach demonic levels of growl. The chorus in this song though is the jaw dropping moment as the heaviness backs off just a touch to allow a backing vocal line sung cleanly alongside the lead growls and its glorious. The Fog of Your Mind is a banger. It’s so heavy and sees a switch in vocal delivery. Still constantly unclean but with a load of different tones. The chorus is brilliant, the melody is catchy and sticks with you. I love the vocal delivery in the chorus in particular and the massive drum and bass sound in the verse and breakdown is killer.

A Place to Call Hell closes with Roaming and it’s a fitting end to such a fine album. After a short intro we are into a rolling drum beat, punchy riff and aggressive vocals. The chorus though, oh, that’s good. The clean backing comes back and the guitar melody takes over and it sounds amazing.

Away from those brilliant standout tracks, there is still a lot more on offer too. From Interlude with it’s minute long instrumental riff section to the bass drenched blast of fury that is By A Thread. The Countdowns brings the groove with big riffs and a massive chorus that gets close to being described as epic. Threat To Myself is the closest to the straight up metalcore formula but it’s still really strong. The drums are intense, the lead melody catches you and the vocals are in your face throughout. Rotten Foundations is another blast track getting itself a little into grind territory in all the best ways.

Basically, A Place to Call Hell delivers massively. It is short, at just 24 minutes but they pass in seconds with no filler, no boredom and no repetition. Basterds have really made me miss the mosh pit with this album. They are a band that have definitely grabbed my attention with probably the best example of all that can be good in metalcore that I have heard in a long while. Well played.

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A Place to Call Hell is out now on all the usual streaming platforms and can be purchased digitally from Bandcamp, here.

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A Place to Call Hell by Basterds (Self Released)
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