An influential underground metal unit from Derbyshire, England, occult rockers Hell formed in the early '80s, but it would be nearly 30 years before they would release their debut album.
Founded in 1982 by members of the recently disbanded British metal groups Race Against Time and Paralex, Hell's horror-themed stage show and steely NWOBHM sound drew comparisons to contemporaries like Iron Maiden
, Mercyful Fate
, and Judas Priest
-- they were one of the first bands to utilize the devilish corpse paint that would come to define the black metal scene in later years. The group went largely ignored by labels and journalists, but they achieved cult status via word of mouth and underground tape trading. The band eventually inked a deal with the aptly named Belgian label Mausoleum Records
, but two weeks prior to heading into the studio to record their debut, the label went bankrupt, which led to the band splitting up, and ultimately to the tragic 1987 suicide of vocalist/guitarist and co-founder Dave Halliday. One of the group's biggest supporters at the time was then aspiring guitarist Andy Sneap, who would go on to co-found thrash metal legends Sabbat
and eventually become a Grammy-winning producer. In 2008 the original members of Hell (Tony Speakman [bass], Kev Bower [guitar/keys], and Tim Bowler [drums]) contacted Sneap about re-recording the group's old material in conjunction with the upcoming release of the original demos. Sneap agreed and soon served as both the producer and guitar player for the band, with David Bower (a notable television and stage actor, as well as the brother of guitarist Kev Bower) taking over vocal duties. The resulting Human Remains arrived via Nuclear Blast
in 2011, followed by a run of high-profile festival shows. Hell released their sophomore studio album, Curse and Chapter, in 2013. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi