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Helfir – The Human Defeat

The Human Defeat
by Harry Green at 05 September 2017, 4:54 PM

“The Human Defeat” (released on June 30, 2017) is the second release by HELFIR, the Lecce, Italy-based solo project of guitarist Luca Mazzotta, following 2015’s “Still Bleeding”. This album oscillates fairly sharply between piano and forte. The quieter songs “Light”, “Chant d’Automne” and “The Last Sun” usually call Steven Wilson’s composition to mind, appropriately enough for someone called an “interpreter” of “the melancholy”. The melodies here are fairly morose and generally accompanied with sharp but ambient instrumentation. Not necessarily “catchy”, or even memorable, but it is absorbing. Mazzotta cites some of his influences as ANATHEMA, KATATONIA and PORCUPINE TREE, all of which are strongly in evidence – the latter most of all. “Tide” shows more influence from modern ANATHEMA, while “Protect Me” sprinkles on some PINK FLOYD for good measure.

However, on the louder tracks I also hear IHSAHN here and there. It’s a very light influence, mind. You’ll hear none of the man’s raw howling or saxophone-based noodling or general anger anywhere, but there’s a faint touch on the guitars, mainly in the tempo and muting patterns and the way Mazzotta employs black metal elements. “Time In Our Minds” comes off as a less elaborate permutation of IHSAHN’s style, as does “Mechanical God”, a potent but ultimately fairly simple industrial track, and “Golden Tongue”, probably the heaviest song on the album.

On the whole, this is a restrained work – something of an achievement for a man who’s a guitarist by training. HELFIR’s Facebook page claims that the band play “decadent noir metal”, which could hardly be farther from the truth. Indulgent, perhaps, but anything this sober could hardly be described as decadent. Mazzotta created something with an interesting flow that lets the listener savor what heaviness there is as an appropriate FF punctuation to the album’s general mood. It shows a composition with a mind for textual variety that most metal bands don’t offer. An interesting entry on the prog market.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8
Memorability: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Time In Our Minds
2. Light
3. Tide
4. Protect Me
5. Chant d’Automne
6. Mechanical God
7. Climax 2.0
8. Golden Tongue
9. The Last Sun
10. Chant d’Automne (instrumental version)
Luca Mazzotta - everything
Record Label: My Kingdom Music


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