EP REVIEW: Beltfed Weapon – Darkened Demise


Beltfed Weapon has often felt like a fun but sort of long-running vanity (but nonetheless valid) project for Seattle’s talented Frank Hetzel, many years between quite short releases featuring a who’s who of underground metal players guesting in support of a slightly odd discography. It is strange to me that there aren’t a series of full-lengths after so much time spent between releases, but every shorter thing Frank has released still has moments to enjoy for the casual thrash, death, and (at times) power metal fan. 

While some lyrics in the past have been very juvenile and releases (this one included) have often displayed some butt ugly cover art or cringe names like “Terrorist Scum”, the EPs are still always metal as fuck. ‘Darkened Demise’ is the strongest statement yet from the project as well as a “last release” of sorts for the late, great Tim Aymar (Control Denied, Helois, Pharaoh). 


Since Frank had collaborated in the past with former Metal Church singer Ronny Munroe, I was hoping he might make an appearance here. Alas, it is not the case. Metal Church also passed on reuniting with Ronny after Mike Howe passed, a missed opportunity (though their new guy sounds pretty great). Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel), Bryan Newbury (Into Eternity) and Dagna Silesia (Ghost Ship Octavius) are some of the guests on this new EP, so there is still a lot going for it. 


“Accept Your Insanity” as the song name implies knowing what you want to do and your own brand of crazy or vision. It explodes out the gate with a sort of Exodus meets Pharaoh-like fury that sets the stage for what is to come. Beltfed might leave you wanting more in a frustrating way that feels slightly undercooked due to brevity, despite the songs being well-articulated and realized. This doesn’t mean the songs are bad, though. It just feels like half an album rather than an EP and that is pretty annoying. 


Still, I am happy for any material featuring Tim to unexpectedly be blessing my ears again! 

“Eternal Fire” is by far the strongest track here, Exhorder’s Jason Viebrooks nimble fingers showing so much precision that you would think he was a member of a band like Cynic. The pairing of Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy and Kragen Lum from Heathen is obviously insane. The track races at breakneck speeds through Annihilator-esque insanity, allowing Tim to truly stretch his formidable and much-missed pipes. If you didn’t get to hear some of the Helios stuff he did near the end of his accomplished life in metal, be sure to also check that out right away.  


“Darkened Demise” is about the death of corrupt leaders and has a much more technical flourish paired with old-school death elements. It is a strong song but as a title track could have stood out more and is fairly generic. 


“Killing Machine” is extremely aggro thrashing death, the vocals are pretty high in the mix for guttural death growls but the song is still punchy enough underneath for the disparity in volumes not to seem out of place like a pop vocal level in a death metal song. I can imagine it is hard to make mixing choices for a project that sort of unifies a number of subgenres at once into the hybrid Beltfed sound. 


“Head First Into Hell” has sort of Havok vibes with a slower, chunky and groove metal-esque chorus that Tim shines on with his signature weird harmonies. The song also has the most relatable lyrics of the record when Tim sings ,”Head first into hell/there’s an ocean of tears we’re crying/head first into hell/for the millions of people dying.” 


All in all Darkened Demise is a cyclone of musicianship that goes by in a flash but leaves you pretty breathless and knowing you have been rocked by lifers. 

Buy the album here:



7 / 10