Helel - A Sigil Burnt Deep Into The Flesh
Debemur Morti Productions
Industrial Blackened Metal
4 songs (27:26)
Release year: 2009
Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

The debut release from mysterious French group Helel, the cumbersomely-titled A Sigil Burnt Deep Into The Flesh is a sheer torrent of hatred. Interestingly for this little niche of a genre, Helel are more Industrial than Black Metal – the only Black Metal influence here seems to be the relentless blastbeats (programmed) and the screamed vocals and general aesthetics of the band. ‘Helel’ means Lucifer in Hebrew, and this EP seems an invocation of the demon in many ways, the classical backing of the title track one grandiose touch that reminded me of The Project Hate MCMXCIX’s approach to Extreme Metal.

As an EP and introduction to the band, this is excellent. Although the members are unnamed (there does seem to be some link with countrymen The CNK, reviewed elsewhere on this site) they’re clearly good at what they do, the programming smooth, the guitars and other instruments well-played, the music often a single wall of complex noise. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of programmed drums, but here they fit the band’s sound well, and the usual electronic elements that most Industrial bands use seem to be ignored here in favour of a more interesting style, an example being the whirring on This Is Hel(e)l. Of course, the mandatory techno beats are present too.

What most matters about this is the band’s original style. All too often ‘Industrial’ bands think they can get away with throwing a few disco beats behind whatever genre they normally play, but Helel, like The Axis Of Perdition and other trailblazers, have built a sound entirely for themselves. The twisting, paranoid Cosmos Is Out Of Order especially travels its own, curiously Avant-Garde path towards gibbering madness, backing noises arising and falling as the six-minute track progresses. I could quote the usual references in this sort of music – Satyricon’s Rebel Extravaganza, Dodheimsgard’s 666 International, and so on – and while you can hear influence from those genre-defining releases here, it’s hard not to be impressed by Helel’s distinct path.

Make no mistake, this isn’t some Mortiis-y dancefloor fodder, but a twisted surge of spitefulness that will appeal to fans of Anaal Nathrakh and other intense forms of experimental Blackened Metal. Three out of four songs from this EP are available to hear on the band’s MySpace, and few would disagree that this is a strong start to Helel’s career. A band certainly worthy of attention; let’s hope any forthcoming full-length releases will prove them worthier yet.

Killing Songs :
A Sigil Burnt Deep Into The Flesh, This Is Hel(e)l, Cosmos Is Out Of Order
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