Bicoastal Hellish Form unleash mind-drubbing doom, tear into damaging wounds with ‘Remains’

The last few months have been kind of nice in a weird way, like we’re crawling out from the fallout of an extinction event, seeing the sun beam for the first time and feeling lucky to have gotten out in one piece. But look closer, and the wounds are there, and they’re deep, and they’re painful. We will never be the same again. Normal means something entirely different to so many of us now.

The two members of Hellish Form—Willow Ryan and Jacob Lee—have spent a lot of the time trying to do their own introspection and battles with pain as they’ve suffered through the same pandemic we all have. In fact, they have released two full-length records since the hell virus struck, and the latest is coming in the form of four-track beast “Remains.” There certainly are tenets of the members’ other respective bands (Body Void, Keeper, Skull Incision), but these two, who recorded the music while living on opposite coasts, is doom misery where some hope snakes through every now and again. They examine self-torment and absorbing one’s own wounds on a path to rebirth, a journey many have to walk based on what we just experienced, light at the end of the tunnel be damned.  

“Your Grave Becomes a Garden” opens the record, a 14:14-long beast that begins in a thick doomy haze as shrieks rain down, and the slowly building power meets up with a synth glaze. Keys drip as the agony thickens, spreading the gloom as wrenching hell is unleashed, feeling like a vicious and stationery storm. The vocals come in forceful wails as mournful guitars thicken, the synth collects like a thick fog, the emotions flood, and the final bludgeoning disappears into a strange sheen. “Ache” has guitars weeping in madness as the playing soars into the clouds, and the vocals crash down as the synth stretches. It feels like you’re lost in a mist as moody pounding increases, your heart is squeezed, and the shrieks rip out guts, leaving them strewn on the floor.

“Shadows With Teeth” runs 12:17 and is utterly morbid when it begins as the shrieks cave, and the playing slowly pummels. Synth boils as the playing blasts forcefully, doom collects overhead, and it feels like you’re being beaten deliberately and insultingly as you beg for mercy. A synth bed glimmers, the playing is dreamy and emotional, and the wail of, “The pain in my chest will never fade, but I’ll carry it with me until my dying day,” buries the dagger. Closer “Another World” runs 10:43 and unleashes a wave of doom drone and mesmerizing synth, giving off a strange vibe as the shrieks land shots. Spacey keys hypnotize as the drums hammer hard, and the doom cauldron heats up, with shrieks pounding hard. There’s a bizarre magical feel that floats, the vocals tear into flesh, and the pressure builds until it finally pops, and everything ends in mystery.

We’ve all been through some serious shit the past 15 months, and Hellish Form channel all of that misery and torture into “Remains,” a bicoastal effort that came together while the pandemic raged. The death, fear, and longing built into these songs also are here to help burn everything down from the past and build back up into a stronger self that is more calloused just from surviving. This is a wrenching, powerful affair that rarely relents and always looks at building your strength through psychological chaos.

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