Many continents can lay claim to being formative breeding grounds for various pieces of the extreme metal puzzle, but perhaps none were such a melting pot as South America in the 1980s. Bands in Brazil, Chile, and other countries pushed thrash metal to its limits until it blurred into what would later be known as black and death metal, and dressed the whole thing in extreme expressions of occultism and hellfire. With that bed of influence bubbling beneath them, modern-day thrashers HELLISH make perfect sense: tightened and refined (but only barely), without diminishing any of the speed-freak tendencies or punkish intensity of their predecessors, and certainly no less devoted to the left hand path.
Coming out of Santiago, Chile in the 2010s, HELLISH previously made believers out of thrash fans worldwide with their Unspeakable Axe-released debut, Grimoire. Only two years later, the follow-up album manages to out-pace and out-riff what came before. Classic speed metal-style riffs cut through an atmosphere of evil worthy of Bathory or Possessed – this is formative stuff, once again splashing around in the dark murk between thrash and black metal, and even straight-up heavy metal in the occasional, surprisingly melodic lead parts. But make no mistake: HELLISH worship at the twin altars of evil and velocity, and The Spectre of Lonely Souls is a sermon strictly for the already-converted.