A fella at work the other day, came up with the line of lockdown. Upon asking him “how you getting on with this mate?” He said: “yeah, its alright, actually. The wife is at home as well and we’ve realised we like each other. I keep saying to her ‘you’re alright you’”.

That, I hope, is how Anders Manga and Devallia spent their lockdown in Transylvania County making these songs about death, murder, debauchery and who knows what else, because the 11 songs that make up “Songs Of Unspeakable Terror” are a collection that is their best by some distance.

It’s not that album number six moves that far from the path they’ve trod for a decade now, but it’s the changes they’ve made have meant they are everything you – and I suspect they – ever wanted to be.

I am not one, usually, to get excited by artwork, but there’s something beguiling about the sleeve for this. You can tell, as soon as you look, really, that this is somewhere between White Zombie and The Misfits – and if you add in a bit of Alice Cooper, a pinch of H.I.M, a dash of 69 Eyes and some Wednesday 13 to taste, you’ve got the recipe (maybe that should be spell?) for the album.

It all begins, basically, as it means to go on. “Night To Dismember” makes a glam rock stomper out of a serial killing spree “legally insane, make no mistake” should not be a catchy line. Forget what should and should not be, because it is here.

Mostly, this has two speeds. Fast and faster, and the most recent single “Hands Of The Reaper” has a thump and a crunch too, but however ludicrous “Witchfinder General” might be, from the second Devllia’s bass kicks in, it sucks you into its nightmarish world.

Actually, “cartoonish” might be a better way of putting it, because this is all done – a bit like Coop – with a smile on its face.

It is, though, most assuredly, the band’s most punk album, and even the “doom” ones like “Not Of This Earth” don’t do slow. Like, this ain’t “stoner” so much as amphetamine pumped.

The fact is that “goth punk” or whatever you want to call it, will not get better this year than “The Ones Who Own The Dark” and that’s just a fact, not since “Love Metal” have the worlds aligned like this.

Unlike most of the competition, though Hammers sound like they fancy a mosh. “Waking The Dead” makes that plain, and the fact there is something really sleazy about all this is never far away, but its all over “Night Of The Witch” on which Manga gives it his best Sisters Of Mercy impression.

The most punk is “We Are The Damned”, which is sorry for nothing whatsoever and cares about your opinion even less, and “The Brain That Would Not Die” has those Scandi rock n roll bands in its sights for a rumble.

There’s even a ballad – and by that I mean there’s a slow one – because whatever “Lucifer’s Light” is, it is not “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, but as if to prove that they weren’t going to do anything tender, they follow this up with the quite incredible slice of nihilism “I Spit On Your Corpse”.

If you like rock n roll, if you have any punk rock in your veins, then you need this in your life, because put simply, if we are in the end of days, then “Songs Of Unspeakable Terror” is the goddamn soundtrack for when it goes up in flames.

Rating 9.5/10

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