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Helleborus - Saprophytic Divinations Award winner

Saprophytic Divinations
by Stephen Bowers at 21 January 2020, 9:02 PM

Taking their name from the beautiful yet poisonous hellebore flower that blooms in winter, Colorado’s HELLEBORUS have established a reputation for epic, sprawling Black Metal songs that are as symphonic as they are brutal. Their debut "The Carnal Sabbath," was released to critical acclaim, showcasing a breadth of styles as atmospheric - and at times almost psychedelic - rhythms combined with furious blastbeats and snarling vocals. With America now a key player in the Black Metal genre, HELLEBORUS were welcomed as a solid addition to the country’s ever-growing roster of talent.

This, their sophomore effort, gets off to a suitably theatrical start with "Celestial Grave" which sees gentle guitar melding seamlessly into a beautiful yet brutal symphony of cacophonous Black Metal. Instruments are expertly played throughout, with powerhouse drumming and rumbling bass providing an apocalyptic backdrop to an onslaught of menacing riffs and vicious vocals. At the same time, the breadth of styles that made their debut so popular are evident here, with ethereal and ominous interludes giving this the feel of a classic Hammer horror movie.

From "Verum Fidei’s" haunting acoustic guitars to the up-tempo fury of "Noctre Amans," their lyrical themes are the nightmarish and the mystical and their delivery undeniably extreme. Make no mistake – this is not "Black Metal by numbers" despite their obvious respect for the orthodoxy of the genre, but sophisticated and intelligent music that takes the listener on a journey that is both macabre and magnificent. HELLEBORUS had previously demonstrated that they had a lot to offer the future of Black Metal. On the strength of this release, they suggest that they may in fact be the future of a Black Metal. Brilliant stuff.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1.  Celestial Grave
2.  lraun Ghost
3.  Verum Fidei
4.  Devil’s Garden
5.  Juniper Shrine
6.  Decaying Observer
7.  Nocte Amans
8.  Blakulla’s Meadow
S.W.H. (Wyatt Houseman):  Vocals
J.C.H (Jered Houseman):  Guitars
Ian Horenman:  Bass
Brent Boutte:  Drums
Record Label: Redefining Darkness Records


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