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Helms Alee

February 9th, 2009 by Crossfire

When I think of a Night Terror the music that can be heard on this album doesn’t come to mind. Helms Alee‘s first release is far from a terror, it’s a 10 song long soundscape that takes you on a journey comparable to Lord of the Rings. The songs range from being fuelled by heavy guitars and drums to quiet “twinkly” riffs. The high contrast of music on this album is both compelling and mesmerising.

The band share vocal duties between two of them, one being a lower male voice often bellowing out words, the other words are sung beautifully by a woman, which can completely change the tone of a song! Not only that but it’s a very rare occurrence when you hear a woman’s voice on this type of music, and its scarcely heard when such a good voice can accompany such loud music so well.

One band that springs to mind when listening to this album is Converge, mainly their more ambient music when they experiment with different vocal techniques. Night Terror is another release on Hydrahead Records and fans of the label should definitely like this band, they encompass the sound you’d normally hear from a Hydrahead band but also add a completely new depth to the music by experimenting with a variety of different techniques.

In the song Grandfather Claws the music stops, the drums play a different beat and for a moment I felt like I was listening to a stadium anthem, then it kicks back in with more ferocious guitars as if nothing had happened! This is a great technique that I’ve never heard by a band like this; although it’s only for a few seconds it added a whole new level to the song.

Other songs equally as impressive were Rogue’s Yarn, Paraphrase and Wild Notes (which uses only a piano and vocals, adding even more eclecticism to this album), these were the three that stood out the most to me. However the whole album is definitely a great piece of work and a hell of a lot of thought must have been put into it! The songs are narcotic, the music is innovative and all around impressive, this band are definitely worth the time of day.

Jonathan Teggert


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