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Helevorn - Compassion Forlorn (2014) - Review

Band: Helevorn
Album title: Compassion Forlorn
Release date: 22 September 2014
Label: Solitude Productions/Bad Mood Man

01. The Inner Crumble
02. Burden Me
03. Looters
04. Unified
05. Delusive Eyes
06. I Am To Blame
07. Reason Dies Last
08. Els Dies Tranquils

Spain is one of those countries that has a lot to offer in the fields of melancholic doom metal, and since I've discovered one of the country's finest acts, Helevorn, back in 2010 with their sophomore album, Forthcoming Displeasures, I felt in love with their remarkable version of mixing doom, gothic and death metal. Tracks like "Descent" or "Two Voices Surrounding" are still one of my favorites of the genre. Now four years after, I was eagerly awaiting for it to come out from the shadows, a new dark opus, a new dose of melancholic heaviness from the Spanish sextet. And,... yes, Compassion Forlorn is all that, maybe even more, it's a bit warmer output, but still it leaves kind of a minor bitter aftertaste because of one tiny little slipup.

Following the path established with their previous two albums, Helevorn with the new album brings a couple of new things. Let me start with a negative one,... and for me that's the main problem in here: majority of clean vocals. If the band knew how to take advantage of them in the previous album, when utilized the atmosphere became more melancholic and gloomy, and were stronger, deeper, yet better blended with the rest of music, now on many parts it just weakens the whole thing by trying to bring kind of an overdose of emotional stance, surprisingly instead of that just leaves kind of a minor void. Fortunately when spoken words are used the thing turns out much better and quite addictive by creating such a deep dark ambiance. For example on "Delusive Eyes" everything works out just great and even, this time a bit deeper clean vocals are in a perfect match with groovy riffs. On contrary, for example in "Burden Me" or in "Looters", by still being great tracks, the effect is just the opposite.

Except of that the album is one pure enjoyment. Helevorn swear to interlaces between crushing slow doom, mid paced metal, emotional and warm passages. The sound is dense and rich, with beautiful catchy melodies, stunning harmonized guitars, effective strong drums, plus simply intense and well balanced massive driving rhytmic lines, it has a drive and pathos that hooks the listeners, and then by placing when most needed the gothy keys, nostalgic piano touches, some symphonic elements, all that just makes this eight track long musical journey very dramatic and simply haunting. Josep Brunet's mournful growling voice is at the same time clear and powerful, his well controled vocals add that special dose of heaviness, just listen how perfectly everything is done in "Unified" or perhaps in breathtaking groovy "I Am To Blame" where the band even adds some choral singing. The best is of course reserved for the end, sentimental and vastly atmospheric masterpiece "Els Dies Tranquils", where a special female guest vocalist, Irish singer Lisa Cuthbert who worked before with The Sisters Of Mercy, Anathema and Antimatter to name a few, just adds another dimension to Helevorn's music by making it even more captivating with her irresistible voice that melts so perfectly with the rest of instrumentation.

Helevorn after all are masters in finding the perfect musical combiantion between emotionaly charged doom metal, gothic metal and death metal. The tracks don't often follow the established rules of the genres and that's what makes Compassion Forlorn unique in many ways. Production is very well balanced, it gives the necessary depth, cleanliness of sound and adds a lot of needed power. If I disregard those weak clean vocals on a couple of occasions mentioned before we're left with a masterpiece. You can almost feel the remarkable passion and pain of everyone involved in the creation of Compassion Forlorn, while they were searching for the most profound desires of man in his desperate longing and confusion. Compassion Forlorn is a musical vision of process of the loss of all feelings once produced by humankind. It's a nostalgia of a time when we considered what we would be one day.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10