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Helioss - Antumbra Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 June 2017, 7:36 AM

Formed in France in 2010, HELIOSS is essentially a one-man band, at least when it comes to the compositions and instrumental recording. The story is that composer Muller wanted to make powerful music where Symphonic elements intermingle with Neo-Classical elements. “Antrumba” is their third album, and contains eleven tracks. Thematically the album deals with elements such as light, death, religion, and man’s place in the world. “The World is Ours” leads off the album. Forlorn piano notes lead soon to some extremely deep and dark Death Metal, with vocals spewn from a demon climbing out of the pit of Hell itself. The Symphonic elements maintain a strong presence, with elaborate arrangements. “Santhara” has guttural vocal grunts and high-pitched shrieks amidst sweeping acts of horns and strings. The instrumentation is fascinatingly abysmal…as dark as a black hole in space. “Dernieri Nuit” literally means “last  night.” After a short lead-in, pandemonium ensues, like humans scattering as alien spacecrafts descend from the sky, decimating everything.

The bells of the Church of Satan ring ominously, announcing the coming of “The Ninth Hour.”  Blast beat drumming hits you square in the gut, so fast and tight that they seem like the are coming from a machine. The chanting adds a chilling effect to an already horrifying sound. “Bring Forth the Rain” has a soothing, almost Spanish sounding acoustic guitar in the beginning that could be from nylon strings. From there a fleshy rhythm follows with an odd time meter and distressed vocals that sound like a dying man pleading for his last rites. A little more order accompanies this song and the duality of the bright acoustic guitar works so well with the Death Metal sound. The perfect marriage of symphony and neo-classical elements can be heard on “Drowning in Your Light,” which opens up a little more from the bleakness of Death Metal to allow some convincing melodies to sink in. The chord structures in the guitar arts are quite expressive.

“Above” has a grandiose sound; foreboding and apocalyptic, and with some strong symphonic elements. The complexity of the instrumental arrangements is truly outstanding. The varied vocal approaches add some more texture to the song. If “The Sun is Gone” isn’t about as end-of-the-world as it gets, then I don’t know what is. What would happen if this was the case would most likely be a chaotic and quick disintegration of everyone and everything. Would beings from the netherworld rise to take over? If so, this would be the song that would fuel that event. The vocal foulness is like listening to ancient Nokian from fallen angels who have been turned into blasphemous beasts.

“Coupables” is the perfect closing song, bringing together some tender hopelessness to go along with the gloomy sound, like a dreamscape once vivid with color that has turned to shades of grey and black; a world destroyed long ago. The doomy elements really put a stamp on the utter destruction that occurred throughout the album. It would be like wading through the burned out remains of the earth after meteors reigned down and left nothing behind. The level of Extreme Metal presented here on “Antumbra” is thick, strong and heavy, with enough fervor to harden even the most ardent of Death/Black/Extreme Metal fans. But it’s the sophistication that comes from the compositional arrangements that drew me in; the combination of classically-trained writing and an ear for expansive accompaniments bring a lot more than just brutality to the table.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The World is Ours
2. Santhara
3. Derniere Nuit
4. Forsaken
5. The Ninth Hour
6. Bring Forth the Rain
7. Drowning in your Light
8. Screaming in Silence
9. Above
10. The Sun is Gone
11. Coupables 
Nicholas Muller – Guitar, Bass, Programming
DM – Vocals 
Record Label: Apathia Records


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Edited 03 June 2023

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