3/14/2012 - Review by: Etiam
In 'Neoheresy', the almost frustratingly prolific Hellveto delivers his 11th LP in a six-year span. Always worth an ear but never yet too surprising, Hellveto can always be counted on to for a dependable slab of martial pagan metal. The trademark of sole member L.O.N.'s writing consists of fairly simple riffs (straight picking rhythms, liberal use of drone notes) bolstered by sweeping orchestration--string synths, intermittent piano, some vocal 'oohs' and 'aahs'--that almost entirely comprise the album's melodic leads. Acoustic interludes, replete with whistle and serviceable vocal patches, lend Hellveto a more Celtic than Slavic vibe, so it is left to the distorted sections and the timbre of L.O.N.'s vocals to reaffirm Hellveto as a Polish entity. Which they do.
Compared to other recent albums, relatively has changed in terms of songwriting or structure--L.O.N. still sounds as though he's shouting his lyrics to the overcast sky from atop a mist-wreathed knoll--and the running order on this album is completely arbitrary. Perhaps 'Neoheresy' is more straightforwardly aggressive than some of its recent kin, but these are shades of difference along a preexisting spectrum. Altogether, though, Hellveto has always been more about atmosphere than particular standout tracks, and 'Neoheresy' leaves a stronger impression than some of its predecessors. This is in large part due to an improved production; a side by side comparison with, say, 'In the Glory of Heroes', reveals the latter to be terribly muddy and compressed in comparison. 'Neoheresy', on the other hand, has the space to breathe, and a treble register quite absent in some other works.
Bolstered by this open production, a few passages on 'Neoheresy' do manage to achieve particular distinction, such as the plaintive descending strings in 'Miczace Sumienie' or the swirling fury of 'Gdy Umiera Swit'. But the high that midsection achieves is blunted by the likes of the pedantic opener, 'Taran', which rides a monochromatic riff for seven plodding minutes, and other forgettable slogs through ancient battlefields. As a solo artist, L.O.N. has been able to write, arrange, and record at his sole discretion, which has clearly proved successful. But one has to wonder whether a collaborator (read: editor) would help raise Hellveto from mild distinction to outright celebration. At this point, no one doubts his credentials, nor his passion. Would it really be so bad to slow things down for a couple years and distill one great record out of two--or even three--decent ones?
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