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Harllequin - Hellakin Riders

Hellakin Riders
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 08 November 2012, 5:26 PM

The riders are lost in space, nowhere to be found in normal space, cramped between life and death, between safety and danger, between what is real and what is false. Illusions can become a powerful foe when not treated as such, however I am sure that the Spanish Hellakin Riders will find the answer that would aid them in their hour of need. The way out of the terrifying void will be found eventually. It all depends on how much tolerance do you guys have to listen to the rest of the story enfolds before you. Or you would rather close up shop fast and take another album to examine. I had such self-contemplations with myself while I took the time to listen to the debut, bearing not so new material; by the Brazilian band with the awkward name of HARLLEQUIN (For some reason it sounds very much like Harley Quinn of the Batman fame, who knows maybe it is). Through their epic tales on “Hellakin Riders” this band decided to rejoice over the unison of drama and fierceness under the same wing while displaying efforts to combine Progressive Power / Heavy Metal with Thrash. In general, it is a great idea, though not a new one but with a chance to provide something fresh. Nonetheless, I felt as if HARLLEQUIN shot themselves in the kneecaps more than once over this long and hard journey to find an answer, probably to their musical enigmas as well.

First of all I liked the ferocity that surrounds the album. There a few softer spots like the closing ballad of “Ancestors”, which made me a bit confused and the rather marvellous intro of “The Bride”. With no doubt, even without the elastic examples that I have just made, I claim that HARLLEQUIN has tons of potential and lots of talent in all the roles of the lineup to create complex music that would sound straightforward, theatrical and dramatic, emotive and creative under the same roof. Pleasing riffing, assorted soloing, soaring, multi dimensional vocals and powerful rhythm section cruised quite nicely on the written material. On the other hand, I felt that the proceedings on “Hellakin Riders” made me loose myself; more accurately lose concentration on what was going on. It was like closing your eyes while watching a horror / thriller movie, and that just can’t happen unless something is not right. HARLLEQUIN might have written a selection of great riffing that surged between the brutish ends of Thrash right into crosshairs of Power / Heavy Metal while also taking chances with various kinds of experimentations following long epic songs that strayed between worlds, but in the end of the album, when everything turned black and silent, all I could say to myself was thank god this is over. I can’t say that there weren’t points that made me hang on more to the rim of the boat like “Going To War”, “The Bride”, “Hellakin Riders” and even “Ancestors”, but the fact of this album is that HARLLEQUIN attempted to be an all around band, with cracks to touch every Metal musical aspect there is, and it turned out to be quite a messy experience.

“Hellakin Riders” may perhaps be a intriguing story filled with mysteries, success, fear, failures, hopes and cravings, yet on this theatrical show of talent and majestic attributes, I felt that it should have been way ordered than this. HARLLEQUIN is a great band of players but they went too far and that is why this album was rather hard to take. Every song has its own identity no doubt about it, yet with these individual patterns, it was hard to digest the theme itself. I suggest on listening to this album no matter what, maybe a new perspective will arise from your own listening.

3 Star Rating

1. Three Days In Hell
2. Archangel Asylum
3. Going To War
4. Overshadow
5. King Of The Dead
6. Hellakin Riders
7. The Riddle
8. The Bride
9. Daredevil
10. Ancestors 
Mario Linhares– Vocals
Fabricio Moraes– Guitars
Caio Duarte– Bass
Pedro Val– Keyboards
Kayo John– Drums
Record Label: Metalville Records


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