When Pantera Meets True Detective: Hellborn Militia- ‘From Acoustic Beginnings’ Album Review

A True Detective approach to American Metal Legends, the debut album is taking its first steps to formulate a brand new genre.

When approaching the genre of American Heavy Metal, it has become all too easy to fall into the trap of becoming yet another cliché version of bands such as Pantera and Metallica. 

The same cannot be said for up-and-coming band, Hellborn Militia.

Announcing their emergence with debut album, From Acoustic Beginnings, released last month, the US based band have already begun to pave the way for a new genre of heavy metal.

Heavily inspired by the old-school age of US metal, drawing parallels to metal legends including Pantera and Megadeth, the album seems to tackle an approach to metal quite unlike ever seen before.

A stripped-back, acoustic approach to Heavy Metal, From Acoustic Beginnings takes the route of a more solemn, heart-rendering album than ever previously heard in the genre.

From the withdrawn, melancholic simplicity of the instruments to the raw, emotion-orientated vocals, the album, whilst unmistakably metal, brings in elements of folk and country as it conveys an overwhelming sense of loss throughout. 

‘Intro To Hell’, ‘Dead Reckoning’ and ‘In Thy Will’ all exemplify this best- merging an contemporary fusion of Phil Anselmo and Manitas De Plata to provoke a heart-wrenching, dissonant emotion that cannot be forged. 

Rustic and heavily withdrawn from the intensity and pure energy of Thrash, the unorthodox sound captured by Hellborn Militia becomes paradoxical- one provoking a sense of familiarity, simultaneous to an underlying sense of unease and uncertainty.

Appearing to find it’s footing more as the album progresses, the held-back, simplistic approach as seen in the first two songs begins to develop as it moves further into the soundtrack.

‘Bound’ and ‘Rio Grande Bayou’ show this most expertly. More evolved than the tracks towards the beginning, it is these songs that stand out as some of the strongest on the album. 

Maintaining that solemn, melancholic approach to American-based Heavy Metal, the band seem to capture their own sound best in these two tracks. Structuring the songs as a musical journey into a range of emotions, it is here that Hellborn Militia finally stand out from the crowds: finding that perfect balance between country-inspired elegance and raw, metal-inspired vigour that perfectly encapsulates the overall aura of the band.

Yet, whilst provoking a sense of solitude throughout, perfectly suited to that of a True Detective soundtrack, From Acoustic Beginnings by no means ventures too far into the territory of becoming repetitive.

As it draws to its close, the final songs of the album seem to neglect the ambient, emotive sound of the tracks prior, instead, opting for a more blatant Thrash sound. For fans of traditional metal, it is these closing tracks that act as a gateway into the new sound captured by Hellborn Militia.

As a whole, From Acoustic Beginnings has firmly placed Hellborn Militia on the metal scene, establishing them as a band with exponential potential ahead of them.

Already beginning to capture a new genre with their unique approach to US Heavy Metal, the album, whilst still finding it’s footing, has sparked interest as to what the future holds for the band.

Filled to the brim with both raw emotion and a melancholic sense of beauty, this unorthodox spin on bands including Black Label Society and Megadeth is certain to capture the attention of traditional metal fans across the globe. As to their future releases from the band, we only hope that they will continue to pursue the unique sound they have already begun to capture. 

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From Acoustic Beginnings is out now and available on all major streaming platforms.

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