Hailing from Lazio Rome, second album “From the Sulphur Depths” of the Italian five-piece death metal act Helslave molds pure Swedish methods of old-school death metal. Returning after six years of break, the newest release sees the band continuing its collaboration with the Asian label Pulverised Records. Formed in 2009 by Jari Sgarlato (guitars), over the past decade Helslave released one demo and two EP’s. The new lineup consists of Marco Benedetti (guitars), Diego Laino (vocals), Luca Riccardelli (bass), and Francesco Comerci (drums). With this formation, the band achieved their best musical work. Helslave‘s first studio album “Ethereal Decay” channeled the melodic style of death metal. However, the band decided to double the intensity by bringing uncompromising brutality to the sophomore effort.
“From the Sulphur Depths” sounds as violent and aggressive as the Swedish death metal bands. Shortly after the ambient intro, the fat tone of the guitars shifts towards the corrosive HM-boss pedal sound. The unrelenting fury of the sawing guitar riffs, along with the drums, moves into remarkable speed. “Unholy Graves” shift gears to raw death metal ferocity. Although the Italian death metal bands are mostly recognized for their firm brutality and technicality, Helslave seems to offer a sawing slab of chainsaw riffs and they’re quite abrasive as they descend into the primitivism of extreme death metal. The amplified guitars are brought by the classical style, songs like “Thrive in Blasphemy” prove that Helslave has been honing their riffs, the blasting drums are powerful and violent.
The band has evolved quickly through the last few years, the songs begin with breakneck speed and aggression. There is plenty of quality the band uncovers from the rhythm section while the grinding drums are enough to break your skull. Tracks like “Perpetual Damnation” mix some death ‘n’ roll with a dash of blast beats creating an energetic tempo. Ensuring full intensity across the time length of thirty-seven minutes, the Italian five-piece conducts many variations. The use of the lead guitars and rhythm provides hooks, although nothing here is extraordinary it doesn’t mean that the songs are monotonous or repetitive.
“Last Nail in the Coffin” is noteworthy for the mid-tempo pace of the drums, Helslave is capable of delivering abrasiveness and groove. With each potent riff, the band achieves a gripping momentum. The monstrous growls fit perfectly with the flow of the music, and the heavy reverbs on the opening moments of “Thy Will Be Done” swell with heavily distorted chords. “From the Sulphur Depths” is full of heavy death metal riffs, although it is somehow odd for an Italian band to play the Swedish style of death metal these lads have perfectly nailed a crushing sound. One of the factors that make this album so enjoyable is the fact that the songs are consistent, the dynamic acceleration of the pace on “Funereal Lust” boosts tremolo-picked riffs. Amid the swarming piles of heavy riffage, Helslave offers a dynamic pace of a roller coaster ride.
The pace never seems to ease, in addition the drums embark on a furious tempo. While the sudden rush of the blast beats sweeps in with the monstrous growls, the Italian lads outshine with a flaunting performance. “Desecration” follows in the same dynamic pace the heavy rumble of the bass and the dual guitars burst out with fury. The hellish loads of the guitars suddenly execute one massive solo that will stun you. From its outset “From the Sulphur Depths” maintains an incredible intensity the buzzing riffs are the strength of the album. The final two tracks “Rotting Pile of Flesh” and “The Sentence of the Living” offer an organic vitality.
Whereas the closing track is the slowest song, the band infused some catchy lead guitars and stellar rhythm work. Helslave musically fits between the modern and old school Swedish death metal, where they take influences from bands like Entombed. This is a savage death metal album devoid of unnecessary melodies and it’s definitely worth checking out. “From the Sulphur Depths” was mixed by the Swedish legend Dan Swanö (ex-Bloodbath, ex-Edge of Sanity and Witherscape).
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
Label: Pulverised Records
- From The Sulphur Depths (intro)
- Unholy Graves
- Thrive in Blasphemy
- Perpetual Damnation
- Last Nail in the Coffin
- Thy Will Be Done
- Funereal Lust
- Rotting Pile of Flesh
- The Sentence of the Living