Go Go Gadget Gothenburg!

June 3, 2016


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Helslave is a melodic death metal band from Rome. The band was formed in 2009, influenced by the 90's death and melodeath Gothenburg scene. They have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with bands like Asphyx, Possessed, Havok, Forgotten Tombs and many others. This 2015 release through Revalve Records never fell under my crosshairs when it initially dropped, but rest assured this is something any self respecting melodeath fan should give some time to.

Pressing play below to begin "Sower of Discord" should be enough to draw in anyone like me who yearns for a return of the golden era of Swedish melodic death metal.  Those albums were heavy hook machines, and An Endless Path is no different.  Roaring tremolo lines, harmonized guitar solos, and of course the classic palm mute and picking alternations are all here.  Helslave play these songs like they stepped through a portal straight from 1999.  Fans of At the Gates, early In Flames, The Haunted, and Dark Tranquillity are going to eat this up.  Hold the salt.

If you're wanting a few highlights to start with, that's giving me a challenge.  Any one of these songs is like to get you banging your head until you risk throwing it from your shoulders.  But to name a few, the title track, "Morbid Compulstion," "Blinding Wrath," and "Ethereal Decay" are all pure diesel guitar fuel.  These riffs are truly siren kisses to my eardrums.  But I can't give the guitars all of the credit.  The drumming all over this album is another major source of vitality.  Not content to stick to any particular pattern, Francesco is a talented man and honorary Swede.

If I have a single critique of An Endless Path, it's that the death vocals are great, but would benefit from a little more presence.  Another big part of what defined the Gothenburg sound was a bit of drama in the frontman's delivery.  These singer/screamers all had their own unique flair and qualities that made them instantly recognizable.  Daniele does a fine job here in matching the intensity of the music, but a little more playing around with ideas, variance of style, and perhaps tweaking of the mix itself could take Helslave from "awesome band" to "essential band."  The part towards the end of "Blinding Wrath" is a good starting point.  That aside, this is one album that you definitely need to check out.  It is streaming in full below, and you can buy it from all of the usual places, though I tend to prefer Amazon Music (this album at $8.99) whenever bandcamp is not an option.