Hel Toro
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Hel Toro

Band Rock Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Northeast Performer, October 2007"

Hel Toro does not believe in messing around. Gimmick revs to life quickly, as if the listener is joining a record already in progress. First track “Holes Up” is long on paper, clocking in at just less than four minutes — which seems like it should feel like an eternity in the lead-pipe genre of violence that Hel Toro slings around. Oddly enough, the band does not outlast their welcome, even if they come running in the door and start banging on the walls and making odd transistor radio sounds. Hel Toro’s sound is not slam for slam’s sake. Rather, the band has a substance to its music in the form of hooky riffs as well as energetic vocals.
Hel Toro attacks like the Death Star, a mechanical terror that could probably destroy a planet in time for dinner.
Their sound is heavy, as though their instruments run on diesel rather than electricity. The vocals and slightly twisted time signatures will remind some listeners of System of a Down. The three-piece lists their home as “I-93,” a north-south stretch of interstate highway that runs both fast and furious and then heavy and gnarled. Hel Toro takes turns in all four lanes, just as willing to sail up the high-speed lanes as they are to mix it up in the gruesome interchanges.
Gimmick is perhaps a poor name for the record. Hel Toro is all substance and low on gimmickry. They definitely have more musical personality than may be expected at first. Songs like “Kill Your Doppelganger” are rich in texture. A Slayer-style opening with ringing strings immediately downshifts into a strong rhythmic statement between drummer Aaron Silverstein and bassist Dave Silverstein. Guitarist/vocalist Rick Maguire is the front of this powerful triad, hammering out powerful guitar lines that infuse the songs with the perfect amount of dynamic gusto. Hel Toro is more than worth the ride — whichever part of 93 they call home.

- C.D. Di Guardia

"Rock and Roll Rumble Live Review"

"...My expectations are tempered going into Hel Toro's set given what little I have heard from them coming into tonight's show. But the irascible three-piece surprises a lot of people tonight, grinding their way cathartically through a handful of tunes that cross barriers with reckless abandon. They're a hard band to pinpoint, with sounds that swing wildly between grunge, punk, metal, and postpunk—often times within the same song. But following a so-so opener to the night, the band's high wire brand of twisted rock ’n’ roll goes a long way toward righting the ship. My only fear looking ahead is that the band's preference for creativity over accessibility might inadvertently cost them in the long run." - The Boston Noise, April 11, 2008

"Heavy Mettle"

It might have been in Lake Station, Indiana, that Hel Toro realized that, no, they were not all that metal. Gurgling across the country in a veggie-oil van, the slash-and-burn group had been bouncing through a handful of clubs, dives, and suburban battles of the bands when it dawned on them that maybe they were out of their element.
“We generally play with pretty typical indie-rock bands around here,” says bassist David Silverstein, whose outfit tends more toward the sounds of Amphetamine Reptile bands of the ’90s. “I feel like we’re pretty loud and rock-and-roll or whatever compared to all that, but when you’re in the middle of a tour playing with greasy metal bands in the Midwest every night, I started to feel like I was in the fucking Click Five.”

On a dark night on the empty rear deck of Deep Ellum in Allston, I learn that the Hel Toro brothers, David and Aaron Silverstein, grew up in Medford, where they became close friends (before a band ever formed) with guitarist/vocalist Rick Maguire in high school. The Silversteins lived together in a house in Medford till a few months ago when a fire sent them packing; they wound up in Arlington.

None of the three has a lot of musical training or even blatant æsthetic aspirations. Their whole relationship stems more from a townie Three Musketeers complex; the trio collectively lack that unfortunate pretentious sheen that tends to settle upon the city’s more career-minded residents.

“The best moments ever, probably, have happened in the jam space, when no one was watching or will ever hear again,” says David. Yeah, that’s right, he calls it the jam space. Do you think he gives a shit? We head over there from the bar, and I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a huge Rasta tapestry in there.

Hel Toro have taken a raw bunch of inspirations — like home-town heroes Drexel and the irreverent punk ideals of Fat Wreck bands — and contorted them into a genuinely nasty, heavy beast. They swear it’s a feel thing. David: “Aaron plays really weird off-time drum fills, but honestly, with this kid, I always know what accents he’s going to play.” Well, okay, but the result sounds as if more-disciplined brainpower had gone into it.

There’s some kind of in-joke about an abacus floating throughout our conversation that never finds a context, but I’m sure it’s relevant to the jilted time signatures and screwy stutter steps in every song. Drexel might be a good place to start. Hel Toro up the ante on that band’s stoic use of lurching, busted-metronome rhythms and razor-sharp Jesus Lizard guitars. Maguire screams his circular rants like a more focused David Yow, summoning ritualistic fervor for phrases like “You can’t see me because I’m not here.” They carom from acidic post-punk to misanthropic hopeless scrapyard blues. Maguire has a kind of up-front Mark Arm way of spewing every last garbled bit of grizzled angst he can wring out his lungs. I’m certain the mic at Allston’s Galaxy Park needed a good spritz of disinfectant after he was done wailing through their recording of The New Harmless (the album they’ll release this Saturday and celebrate at the Middle East).

“We’re an acquired taste, I think,” says Aaron.

Maybe. The band haven’t become an overnight success in Boston, slowly working their way through shows at O’Brien’s and scraping up friends at places across the North Shore, which was the stomping ground of Aaron’s old band, Local Tough Guy. Still, there’s plenty of room for ballsy, grungy rock in town — even if it’s not at the local forefront. Hel Toro aren’t too far from a proud bloodline of Allston Rock City bands Quintaine Americana and Milligram, and their pairing this weekend with the scrappy post-hardcore Daniel Striped Tiger promises to be a perfect match.

“There are just some areas that we’re absolutely useless in,” says David, pointing to the bland administrative areas of band management. “You get tired of the same bullshit at work every day, but the game you have to play to be successful in music is sometimes even worse.”

It won’t be any easier if it’s all Michigan metal fests again the next time they hit the road. Still, even if folks don’t quite know what they’re buying into with Hel Toro, David is willing to play the odds: “We’re still eager to turn ourselves into a scratch ticket.”

(Matt Parish) - The Boston Phoenix, November 6, 2008


Tabula Rasa e.p. (2006)
Gimmick (2007)
The New Harmless (2008)



From the ashes of Boston's eclectic punk rock scene, Hel Toro was birthed into an aggressive form of the genre that is all their own. The band carries the mixed nostalgia of latter day saints such as Drexel and The Jesus Lizard, while refreshing listeners with attitude-laden tone similar but not limited to Queens of the Stone Age and Deftones.

The three-piece came together in late 2004 and immediately began writing the material that would become their first E.P., Tabula Rasa. Released in 2006, the record would quickly establish the band across New England's live music scene through its accessible, heavy/organic appeal. 2007's Gimmick, on the strength of it's first track "Hole's Up", led to the gain of major radio support throughout their city and continues to fuel their momentum nation-wide with a new release coming this summer and touring plans for fall 2008.

Hel Toro's live performance is professional, fast, loud and unrestrained, often shedding light onto their affinity for collective and talented improvisation. Both vocally and instrumentally, this highly dynamic group will undoubtedly impress every time.