Wednesday, June 22, 2016

HELLEBORUS - The Carnal Sabbath

Helleborus - The Carnal Sabbath (2016, Black Plague Records & Satanath Records)

Since its inception, the subgenre that is Black Metal has been reduced to many stereotypes and more often than not the creators behind the music were sole members or a few musicians. The brothers Houseman, Jerred and Wyatt have founded Helleborus in a goal to achieve something different with a masculine and romantic approach to the whole thing. I already see your eyebrows forming a strange W shape. Before you pass a judgement let’s see what it sounds like.

The Carnal Sabbath is not a typical Black Metal as sometime we intend it to be with the lo-fi Norse angle of the early 1990’s. In fact, it is a mix between Samael’s Ceremony of the Opposites’ era Satyricon’s Now Diabolical and early Katatonia. So no, it is not lame or that hipster either. It has this rocking edge that Katatonia does and the deep growls of Samael Black Metal entries. There are even guitar solos that reminds of a more progressive power rock time. This is an album that takes risks in its incarnation of the most infamous music genre.

The thing is, when a band takes such a risk it must be calculated and done flawlessly. It is interesting, but is it enough? It is on the edge but the melodic guitars, the clear production and the rocking parts are probably enough to get it out of the average category but not enough to actually get into the very good either. Some songs go on too long and at 54 minutes some concepts are revisited and needed a bit of editing just to help the whole thing to rest totally afloat.

It is a promisign debut and an interesting angle to tackle the subgenre and you should not judge before you give them a listen because the whole is positively surprising.


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