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Helvetets Port – From Life To Death

Helvetets Port
From Life To Death
by Guy "Kai" Naiman at 19 August 2019, 9:55 PM

“Let’s get to the trenches, boys!”, or so we were ordered to do by the mighty melodic Metallers HELVETETS PORT; with this release, that reignites their record tally after the band’s comeback in 2014, HELVETETS PORT are keen to deliver us the best medieval warlike atmosphere with their upcoming album, “From Life To Death”. Have they triumphed their mission? The short answer is, “not really”.

Let’s first discuss the immediate positives that came to mind when listening through “From Life To Death”, though. From the very first seconds of the album’s opening track, “Stan Brinner”, and up until the album’s finale in “Night Of The Innocent”, the listener will experience as if he himself stands in preparation to fight for the castle’s walls. The lyrical and compositional atmosphere is remarkably accurate and suitable to what one might think when they are questioned “how would a medieval battle music would sound like?”.

Another crucial element in “From Life To Death”, is the musicianship of the band members, and the ways their instruments correlate with each other. This is especially noticeable in pieces like “Hård Mot De Hårda” or “Die To Stay Alive”, where in the first the bass guitar parts are so masterfully executed and delivered in harmony with the guitars taking the background position for a change. In the latter, the instrumentation gives the listener the sense as if he is in a musical theater, and not listening to a heavy metal album, which is, without any doubt, a rather rare thing to experience while listening to modern day metal music. For another example, one may want to observe the mysteriously composed classical guitar intro in “The Invincible”, which, on another note, I would definitely call the highlight track of “From Life To Death”.

But where did it all go wrong? well, the first noticeable misdeed is the length of the album. In “From Life To Death”, there are 14 tracks, none of which deliver the ever-so important, listening experience indulging element known as “change”. During my listening session, I have felt as if HELVETETS PORT have nothing new to provide the listener after the fifth track and stretching the album to a 14-track-long monster of an album, is clearly an overkill. Additionally, some tracks in “From Life To Death”, such as “Röda Nejlikan”, are either too predictable, too forgettable or just simply too long. Yes, it is only just under five and half minutes long, yet it feels so relentlessly repetitive, which raised the question “why didn’t it end 2 minutes ago?”.

With all being said and “From Life To Death” been heard, my impression is that the album is a rather stale effort of a potentially massive hit. It is, in general, too long and forgettable, whereas the craftsmanship of HELVETETS PORT and the production in “From Life To Death” very flattering the overall lyrical and compositional theme. For a final note, if you don’t mind spending a long time in an epic, medieval-themed musical that never seems to stop, you will thoroughly enjoy this album!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Stan Brinner
2. The Invincible
3. Röda Nejlikan
4. Ruled With An Iron Hand
5. Hård Mot De Hårda
6. Man-At-Arms
7. White Diamond
8. Hero Of An Age
9.Die To Stay Alive
10. From Life To Death
11. Orions Bälte
12. Castle Walls, City Gates
13. Thunder Ace
14. Night Of The Innocent
Tomas ''Witchfinder'' Ericson – Vocals
Kongo ''K. Lightning'' Magnéli – Guitars
Rasmus "Earthquake" Grahn – Bass
David "Virginkiller" Olofsson – Guitars
Oscar ''O. Thunder'' Rolfsson – Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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