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TarthariA - Hellvue XV Award winner

Hellvue XV
by Kayla Hutton at 05 June 2018, 6:43 AM

Formed in 2002 TARTHARIA is a Russian/Finnish melodic blackened death metal band. Well, I guess the genre depends on the band members at the time. TARTHARIA seems to be a revolving door of band members, like a supergroup of lesser-known musicians. “Hellvue VX” is a compilation, a best of if you will. Showcasing the best contributions and a level of diversity that is off the charts. Spanning the bands' history there isn’t a shortage of talent and skill, the identifiable potential in the bands' infancy, and the spanning of the metal genre that most aren't successful when attempting. Released on April 27th 2018 via Phantom Pain Records, who seem to be re-issuing the bands' catalog, including demos. “Hellvue XV”, for now, marks the bands 8th release.

Satisfactory Suffocation” begins as any great death metal track should, fast, brutal, a predominant riff, and sounding nice and dark. The music tone is similar to the Swedish tone that Dismember had, just cleaned up a bit. At the 1:27 mark, not sure if there is a name for it, but the style of this riff just makes you want to move. It’s motivating and driving full speed ahead. Not a headbanging beat, more along the lines of body thrusting. It has a power chord slide followed by a palm muted walk. This section of “Satisfactory Suffocation” has gotten stuck in my head repeatedly. Very catchy for a death metal song. The vocals are nice, low and deep. The only part that stuck out obvious was the power metal-ish music midsection with some clean vocals shared with the growls then a mid-toned yelling. Of course it ads more severity or drama. The keyboard part played quick stabbed accent notes and when all is combined the song itself is loaded with diversity. Some seem out of place and some fits just right. It’s really a matter of personal preference on this one.

Followed up by “Zero Living One” which begins with a sad keyboard phrase. It takes mere seconds for the rolling triplets to join in. While the contrast of something beautiful yet melancholic intertwines with brutal and precise rolls that do make the heaviness heavier. Beefier. What I didn’t see coming was the female vocals. Similar to that of Lin Kristine on THEATER OF TRAGEDY's first 2 albums. Very raw and haunting. It’s a great match but don’t let the vocal throw your attention from the drummers' kick work. Then comes the yelling vocalist. I’m sorry but that just killed it for me. Had it been the deep-throated growler, that would have been fantastic. The guy has a one keyed monotone yell. The female has a huge range and is more operatic. The over toned synth lines are similar to early AMORPHISTales From the Thousand Lakes” era. About the 2:35 mark, listen to the female vocalist. I haven't decided if I like it or not. She kind of chirps. Quick ah, ah, ah sounds. It’s very admirable she can pull that off as it is more of an operatic move, not sure if it fits here.

You can really tell that there are a numerous amount of contributing musicians. Just roll back and forth between the start of “Music=Me” and “Never Too Late”. Some are going to sound very European. Some have a doom metal feel. Some are straight brutal death metal. Then there are touches of melodic death metal and even Viking metal. If you have A.D.D., TARTHARIA will be the band for you. I guarantee you will not get bored and there is ZERO monotony. Keeping in mind that “Hellvue XV” spans the bands' career and serves as a retrospective or best of album you would expect to hear the sound change as the years go by. They have a consistent change. It doesn’t stray from the path in ways that are just night and day, but the revolving door of contributors and the standard for skill to be a contributor keeps it interesting and diverse.

On the PC and in the car surprisingly even the older stuff sounds great. There is no wall of noise. All the instruments and vocals are clean clear and crisp. The production value is great. While some of the elements threw me, it just kept me on my toes. Suspense runs high cuz you won't guess what to expect next.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Satisfactory Suffocation (album Bleeding For The Devil 2014)
2. Zero Living One (album Z.L.O. 2015)
3. Crowned by name (album Horror Without Name 2012)
4. Never Ground Me (album Ground Me, Hate Me 2018)
5. At Every Step (album Abstract Nation 2004)
6. Unfear (album Horror Without Name 2012)
7. Part of me (album Z.L.O. 2015)
8. Music=Me (album Ground Me, Hate Me 2018)
9. Destructive Power Of Life (album A Secret Device 2003)
10.Never Too Late (album Bleeding For The Devil 2014)
Andrey Ind - Vocals
Mania - Vocals
Kir Kult - Vocals
Igor Anokhin - Guitar / Bass
Yan Fedyaev - Guitar
Vladimir Vishnyakov - Bass
Aleksandr Jakovlev - Drums
Ville Huttunen - Drums
Ilya Denisov - Keyboards
Pekka Turtiainen - Keyboards
Denis Shelepov - Keyboards
Jussi Watanen - Guitar
Mikhail Ivanov - Guitar
Record Label: Phantom Pain


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