Founded almost twenty years ago and taking their name from Tolkien’s Silmarillion, Helevorn has come to be one of the top doom metal bands in Spain and on 23rd January they released their fourth album: Aamamata (2019). The cool cover artwork of the album shows Sibila, prophetess of Greek mythology, singing a song for the ones that drown in the sea at her feet. These elements clearly point at Mediterranean influences, and since the band comes from Palma de Mallorca, an island in the Meditteranean sea, we can understand that this is a conceptual album dedicated to this sea, its beauty but also the tragedies it had witnessed and still do.
In general, Aamamata sounds like a mature work that shows that the band knows exactly how they want to sound and where they are going. Their style can be classified in the most melodic side of doom metal and their formula is based mainly on riffing and rhythmic guitar, not including solos nor excessive lead guitars. To give intensity to the songs and to emphasize the melodies, they rely mainly on the accompaniment of keyboards and choirs. The problem comes when you realize that all the songs work in almost the same way, which is why the album, lasting 57 minutes, turns out a little too long.
A Sail to Sanity, the song that opens the album, begins in a powerful way, showing from the beginning the accompaniment of keyboards that works very well in combination with the riff. It’s a good introductory song with catchy melodies that doesn’t reveal all the tricks of the band yet. Both gutturals and clean voices are very good. After it comes the most calm and emotional Goodbye, Hope that tells the story of a man who drowns in the sea. Blackened Waves is for me the first highlight of the album, with an incredible melody and many changes of rhythm and nuances. Aurora is another treasure of this album, with an introduction based on Mediterranean music and a woman’s voice that could well be that of Sibila singing. In this case, the song evolves to acquire an epic tone that links perfectly with the energy of Forgotten Fields. After it, Nostrum Mare returns to the Mediterranean influences and in its introduction, several people recite verses in the languages of the countries bathed by this sea, this being one of the most original songs of the album and which is closed by female voices and harmonizing guitars for the first time. After this piece that overflows creativity, the truth is that the album has a hard time to keep the level. Once Upon a War sounds a bit repetitive and for me it’s one of the less interesting songs on the album, which manages to come back with the final two pieces, The Path to Puya, which at times sounds like Draconian with the female vocals at the end, and the quiet La Sibi-la, which puts a perfect end to the album.
I hadn’t listened to Helevorn before this, but it has left a very good taste in my mouth. They know how to do doom metal very well and are able to create original sounds, but sometimes they stay a bit on the more conventional side. There’re many bands out there who know how to do good doom, so it’d be interesting for them to exploit the elements that can make them unique and add more variety in the formula of their songs. All in all, Aamamata is a highly recommended album that surely will delight doom metal fans.