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Hela - Vegvisir

by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 13 January 2020, 4:21 AM

HELA is a Doom Metal band from Spain.  “Vegvisir,” is their third full length album; they also released a split album in 2014. This album reminds of another one I reviewed a couple weeks ago—THE RIVER’s “Into White Tides.”  The two bands/albums don’t sound alike but they have a similar approach: heavy and slumbering Doom but also a bit on the quiet, more introspective side. Emotions run high on “Vegvisir,” but the album does take repeated listens to sink in.

The first track, “Holy Hell,” is sludgy and stalking but the riffs have a slight hint of melody to them.  Ayla’s vocals play off this melody—her vocal approach has some Stoner Doom influences mixed with a near ethereal, lithe wail.  Much of the track is clean instrumentation that connects the heavier aspects together.  These clean and scaled back moments work well enough, especially when they include a rambling guitar solo, but at times they don’t add much to the songs.  “Holy Hell,” is the exception to the rule—this whole song works well.

Drowned By Myself,” is a case of sometimes more being, well, too much.  At eight minutes and change in length, I can’t help but feel this song could had dropped a couple of minutes, specifically the first three because the song doesn’t get interesting until the three-minute mark.  The rest of the song is rather well done.  Simple but sweeping riffs carry the vocals thru their journey, one that is made of sleepy melodies, rock breaking riffs, and great vocal delivery.

Golden Snake,” is the best track on the album.  The track’s starting melodies are rich and vibrant and work well enough with the electric crunch and rolling drums.   The vocals and guitar settle into a gloomy groove that is immensely infectious.  Tighter and faster paced riffs find a place in the dirge later on, as does a Post-like atmosphere that sends the song out on a high note.

Problems return with “Decaying Sky.”  It is over eleven minutes in length but much of the song just isn’t interesting—just long passages where the instrument just seems to plod and tinker along.  Basically, the first six minutes is all the song needed to be—everything else just seems like filler to me although the drums were consistently interesting.

Sleepless Nights,” is the final track and a decent enough way to end things but, again, much of it just doesn’t keep my interest.  I liked the first four minutes and the final three—the remaining three minutes or so that make up the track’s mid-section just sort of…sit there and exist. All in all, not a bad album but I would have enjoyed it more if there was a bit more focus in some tracks; I listen to a lot of Doom and I’m not sure if I will find myself coming back to this one later on in the year.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Holy Hell
2. Drowned By Myself
3. Golden Snake
4. Decaying Sky
5. Sleepless Nights
Tano Gimenez – Bass
Miguel A. Fernadez – Drums
Julian Velasco – Guitars
Ayla-Mae Coghlan – Vocals
Record Label: Tormo Records


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