Helleborus – Saprophytic Divinations

3 min read

Band: Helleborus
Title: Saprophytic Divinations
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Release date: 06 December 2019
Country: United States
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

It’s a new year but I can’t seem to be able to let the old one go. 2019 was my first year with the Zine and I have gotten to know so many bands during that time, but even if my latest review is still from the last year release I have no doubt that this year will too bring forth all the best that the underground has to offer and then some.

USA located HELLEBORUS released their second full length album “Saprophytic Divinations” at the beginning of December. The 50 minutes long 9 track album has received, as far as I can see, positive response and for a good reason. The sound is somewhat black metal, the drums are at blazing speed and the vocals are shrieking. Melodic guitars and orchestrations add a nice feel to it and the lyrics are easy to keep up with. The production overall is nice and clear and as a personal experience, it had some horror feel to it. The opened “Celestial Grave” features all of those aspects and therefore fits well as an opener.

The vocals of “Alraun Ghost” are used in the way that tells a tale, it’s quite dynamic and you notice it that the vocals are in focus, it’s not just a bunch of noise. It’s almost to the stage of theatrical, and this group seems to really know its trade. The performance is spot on. “Verum Fidei” also brings forth diversity in its own way as it is a shorty with some clear guitars and a lot of reverb.

Another point goes in their direction as they appear to have mastered both fast and slow paces, and not only have they done so but also go all in on both sides. “Devil’s Garden” is not one of the faster ones on here, however, it adds in a sense of being grand and majestic as there is much fineness to it. “Juniper Shrine” as well as its intriguing guitar riffs although not exactly traditional ones. The band is not just a band in that sense, but a union that is kept together even when the members go off into the passes where everything sounds like complete chaos because it does not get out of hand. I’m sure this will (if not already) be appreciated by fans of more traditional metal as well as this is a musical journey, not just a way of listening to a bunch of songs one after another.

The badassery riffs of “Nocte Amans” stand out for me here. The mix of traditional metal riffs and fast melodic progressions are for me much more interesting then when bands just do the same thing over and over again, and I think it’s safe to say that this track was my favorite of the whole album. A common sound of dissonant melodies make the album a bit more traditional with “Blakulla´s Meadow” as that is surely a common thing in black metal, but it is spiced up to sound more interesting such as the almost happy sounding orchestrations. Finally “Saprophytic Divinations” closes the album with almost spoken vocals, giving the storytelling mood again. Even if it feels as if the song is building up to it somewhat never really takes off, but nevertheless it works and a massive riffing in the outro makes up for it.

There isn’t much to complain about here. These guys have taken their time to come up with something they can be proud off and having listened to this in January of a new year, the bar for the rest of it has been set pretty high. Bring it on 2020! Oh and don’t forget to check out the artwork too. 9/10 Julia


Official website

9/10 Epic Storm
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