Embrace darkness and melancholy to the sound of the breathtaking new opus by one of the most interesting names from the underground Spanish scene.
Hailing from Palma de Mallorca (which is becoming a recurrent source of first-class metal music at The Headbanging Moose), in the Balearic Islands, Spain, the melancholic, somber and utterly melodic Gothic/Doom Metal outfit that goes by the stylish name of Helevorn (a lake in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion) returns in 2019 with their fourth full-length album and what’s perhaps their boldest and most detailed opus since their inception in 1999, the multi-layered Aamamata, leaving us absolutely stunned with its almost one hour of the finest and most elegant heavy music you can think of. Comprised of lead singer Josep Brunet, guitarists Sandro Vizcaino and Samuel Morales, bassist Guillem Morey, pianist and keyboardist Enrique Sierra, and drummer Xavi Gil, Helevorn aim at reaching new heights with Aamamata, proving melancholic doom can be just as breathtaking as any style considered faster or heavier, being highly recommended for admirers of the gloomy music by renowned acts like Draconian, Swallow The Sun and Paradise Lost.
Featuring a classy logo by Irene Serrano, a mesmerizing artwork by Gonzalo Aeneas depicting Sibyl, and Ancient Greek prophetess, and several brilliant guest musicians such as Júlia Colom and Heike Langhans (from Draconian), Aamamata, the song that Death sings every day in the Mediterranean Sea (which has become a desolate pit for human lives), goes beyond the boundaries of traditional Doom Metal, bringing elements from countless metal and non-metal styles and, therefore, offering our avid ears a unique and captivating sonority from start to finish. “We know that we are not discovering something new, but it’s how it sounds the 90’s goth-doom metal in the present times. It should be received like a piece to reborn the scene and to relate music and the decadence of Humankind through the drama of the refugees, that constantly are dying trying to escape from the hell that Western Countries put to them. We think that fans will love the new album,” said the band about their newborn spawn, and they’re more than right in stating we, fans of underground heavy music, will simply love Aamamata in its entirety.
Sandro and Samuel begin slashing their strings in the sluggish and atmospheric opening track A Sail To Sanity, urging us all to bang our heads like there’s no tomorrow in a beautiful display of classic Doom Metal where Josep growls deeply and with a lot of anguish, whereas in Goodbye, Hope the piano and keys by Enrique bring a touch of delicacy and melancholy to the musicality, while Xavi pounds his drums in the most damned way possible, being tailored for fans of somber and heavy-as-hell doom. And in Blackened Waves, led by Gulliem’s metallic bass lines and Enrique’s ethereal keys, we’re treated to a dense and enfolding sound enhanced by cryptic lyrics that exhale poetry and arcane feelings (“Rolling by, weary, uneven planes / A darkness lurks / Slowly, I am given to the mystery / I am drawn into its depths / A wall of, formidable strength / The power is palpable”).
However, it’s in Aurora, a hypnotizing voyage through the most obscure realms of Doom Metal, that Helevorn position themselves as one of the most interesting names of the current Spanish scene, with the music starting in a compelling way with the gorgeous vocals by guest Júlia Colom together with the eccentric sounds of the bouzouki and bağlama by Jaume Compte, bringing an extra dosage of finesse to the music, not to mention its classic riffs and pleasant pace. Furthermore, this flawless aria is dedicated to all of those who have fallen by executions and political persecution during the fascist coup in Spain in 1936, and are still missing, buried in hundreds of unmarked mass graves, but is especially dedicated to Aurora Picornell, a freedom fighter who stood up for liberty and civil rights, and was executed on January 5, 1937 (more than 80 years after her death, her body has not yet been found). If that doesn’t touch your soul, I honestly don’t know what would. Anyway, drinking from the same fountain as Paradise Lost and Draconian, Helevorn deliver Forgotten Fields, a song that feels like it was written in the 90’s with Josep once again doing an amazing job with both his harsh growls and clean vocals, followed by the serene Nostrum Mare (Et deixo un pont de mar blava), featuring spoken parts by (in order of appearance) Vassilis Mazaris (Greek), Diane Camenzuli (Maltese), Joan Oliver (Spanish), Sara Husein El Ahmed (Arabic), Pablo Ferrarese (Italian), Isabelle Pereira (French), Élide Terrón and Felip Palou (Catalan), and Corin Solo Fogel (Hebraic), while the band makes sure the atmosphere remains vibrant and obscure throughout the entire song, in special the piano notes by Enrique and the metallic riffs by the band’s guitar duo.
Once Upon a War is another old school composition showcasing slow and steady drums, low-tuned bass punches intertwined with piano notes, and a very powerful vocal performance by Josep deeply vociferating the song’s acid lyrics (“A woman taken from home / To appease the warlords’ thirst / The children give themselves up / What must be done to save their own innocence? / Innocents!”), all embraced by Sandro’s and Samuel’s crisp riffs and solos, before the over 8 minutes of mesmerizing, doomed music found in the following tune, entitled The Path to Puya, majestically penetrates deep inside your mind, with the stunning guest vocalist Heike Langhans forming a fantastic dynamic duo with Josep, while guest Pedro Zubiri (from Blind Panic) fires a soulful guitar solo for our total delight, and that hypnotizing and breathtaking vibe goes on until the song’s obscure finale. And lastly, Helevorn bring forward the gentle La Sibil-la, a Catalan medieval song dated from the 10th century, with the band’s version being very delicate and dense, switching from purely acoustic passages to the traditional heaviness of Doom Metal, providing a superb ending for a grandiose album of dark and mournful metal music.
You can find Aamamata available for a full listen on YouTube, and purchase your copy of such awesome album from the band’s official BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from the Solitude Productions webstore (in regular CD or Digipak format), from iTunes, from Amazon or from Discogs. Furthermore, don’t forget to show your utmost support to those talented Spaniards by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by listening to their music on Spotify. Helevorn elevated not only the quality and potency of their already refined Doom Metal in Aamamata, but the spirits of all of those who admire the fusion of good heavy music with a strong background message or meaning. And that, my dear metalheads, is the true essence of heavy music and everything we should always look for when in pursuit of new or unique names in the underground metal scene like Helevorn.
Best moments of the album: A Sail To Sanity, Blackened Waves, Aurora and The Path to Puya.
Worst moments of the album: Forgotten Fields.
Released in 2019 Solitude Productions/BadMoodMan Music
1. A Sail To Sanity 5:25
2. Goodbye, Hope 5:58
3. Blackened Waves 5:26
4. Aurora 7:24
5. Forgotten Fields 5:44
6. Nostrum Mare (Et deixo un pont de mar blava) 7:28
7. Once Upon a War 5:55
8. The Path to Puya 8:38
9. La Sibil-la 5:05
Josep Brunet – vocals
Sandro Vizcaino – guitars
Samuel Morales – guitars
Guillem Morey – bass
Enrique Sierra – piano, keyboards
Xavi Gil – drums
Júlia Colom – guest vocals on “Aurora” and “Nostrum Mare”
Heike Langhans – guest vocals on “The Path to Puya”
Jaume Compte – bouzouki and bağlama on “Aurora”
Pedro Zubiri – guitar solo on “The Path to Puya”
Batucada d’es Gremi – additional drums on “Aurora”
‘Are’are women (Malaita, Salomon Islands) – outro singing on “The Path to Puya”
Vassilis Mazaris, Diane Camenzuli, Joan Oliver, Sara Husein El Ahmed, Pablo Ferrarese, Isabelle Pereira, Élide Terrón, Felip Palou & Corin Solo Fogel – spoken parts on “Nostrum Mare”