Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Helevorn-Compassion Forlorn

Solitude Productions/BadMoodMan Music

Due to be released on September 22nd, "Compassion Forlorn" is Helevorn's third full-length album since forming way back in 1991. As the (long-overdue) follow-up to "Forthcoming Displeasures" this eight-track album also holds the distinction of being the first sign of new material from this Spanish band in four years! Last time around (or if you will when the group unearthed "Forthcoming Displeasures" for the good of the doom metal community!) Helevorn had the distinction of coming in second place in the Metal Storm Awards category "The Best Doom Metal Album of 2010". Along the way the group also appeared on "December Songs", a Katatonia tribute compilation, with the song "12" and performed at festivals like Wave Gotik Treffen XX in Germany (with October Tide, Katatonia, The Foreshadowing...), Devilstone Open Air in Lithuania (with Grave, Tankard, Mayhem...) and the Dutch Doom Days in the Netherlands (with Shattered Hope, The 11th Hour, A Dream of Poe...)! All of which begs one question. How exactly do you go about one-upping your last (highly adored!) work? How do you build upon what you had (in this case a near-perfect blend of doom metal, melodic death metal goth metal) while simultaneously pushing your band in a new direction? On "Compassion Forlorn" it helps to look at the whole picture. First Helevorn (in what proved to be an inspired move on the part six-piece band!) went and signed up a male choir for several numbers. Next thing you know the band went about securing the services of Irish female singer/songwriter Lisa Cuthbert and the guitar player Pedro Zubiri (ex-Golgotha and ex-Blind Panic) for the song "Els dies tranquills". In both situations it paid for the band to seek some outside out as these small additions only add to the powerful presence of album number three. And speaking of powerful presences, Josep Brunet (the group's all encompassing front-man since day one!) is a master on the mic! Brunet's voice, which has equally been described as majestic and menacing, does much more then just compliment the often-times atmospheric nature of Helevorn's sound. As the captain of the ship this superb lead singer navigates the group through tranquil and treacherous water. Granted it does help when you find yourself in the company of -a fabulous crew that includes lead guitarist/long-time member Samuel Morales (Desmodus), guitarist Sandro Vizcaíno (ex-Movement, ex-Elemento.6, ex-Hedshock, ex-ShockWave, ex-Toxic Waste, ex-Virus), bass guitarist Guillem Calderón (Ancient Realm, ex-Desmodus, ex-Decomposed Torso, ex-Thrownaway), keyboardist Enrique Sierra and drummer/additional long-time member Xavier Gil! Still, front-man Josep Brunet breaths life into "Compassion Forlorn" as much as he gives these eight tracks a gothic undertone! As good as the band sounds here musically it must be noted how fantastic the album sounds as a whole! Recorded and mixed at Psychosomatic Studios in Mallorca (Spain) by Miguel Ángel Riutort "Mega" and mastered once again by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Paradise Lost, Arch Enemy, Kreator...) at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, "Compassion Forlorn" sounds great on every front! From the actual performances of the band members and guest to the the overall direction that Miguel Ángel Riutort "Mega" and Jens Bogren took the album in everything just has that perfect feeling....likes puzzle pieces fitting smoothly together to create a beautiful portrait! Fans of gothic metal/doom metal couldn't ask for a better album to sink their teeth into as "Compassion Forlorn" is dark, foreboding and ghastly (the use of keys helps see to that!). Then again it's also one album where melodic moments, tremendous lead solos and sweeping passages all tie together nicely with slowed down death metal so there's a little bit of everything for everyone! For Helevorn an album like "Compassion Forlorn" is the perfect addition to their body of work as a whole while it also brilliantly showcases the growth and maturity of this long-standing Spanish doom act. "Compassion Forlorn" might just be long-overdue, but it is one album that is well-worth the wait for fans!

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