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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Review: Heleven – Into the Oceans

Label: Art Gates Records

Date: March 12th, 2021

Okay now, let me welcome you to the new century. “Into the Oceans” is probably the prototype of what metal is supposed to sound like in the modern era. I will do my best to paint the picture for you, though you should be warned that music like this was never quite to my taste. Even if Heleven uses some sonic postulates I’ve grown up with in the early 2000’s.

Still, with all of the above being said, I’m fairly certain that these Spaniards do have their audience that fully understands and supports such musical outputs. As mentioned, many elements of “Into the Oceans” have been taken from the new millennium type of bands, so that even my own generation, mid-era metal graduates, could connect to Heleven.

Namely, I found this album inspired by some nu metal acts. However, do not expect rap inputs. This is more along the lines of Deftones. Extremely groovy, yet still atmospheric to an unexpected degree. Diving deeper into the sound presented here, there are elements of Fear Factory or Mnemic in the overly industrial parts. All of this is nicely wrapped into a post metal coating, reminiscent of… Well, nobody in particular, as Heleven seems to be quite prone to musical experimentation that, though bearing some resemblances, can be understood as their own. Among the most notable influences on the album are also the vocals that often sound like borrowed from the golden age of grunge. It’s that melancholic timbre in the voice here that can easily call to one’s memory the late Layne Staley.

Therein lays my biggest issue with “Into the Oceans”. The vocals remain pretty “watered-down” even while all the instrumental hell is breaking loose around them. Though it is a common feature for bands of similar musical persuasion, I have always found it a fault. My own taste, of course, but I feel the need to stress it out each time.

On the plus side, I need to mention the atmospheric side of Heleven again. Yes, the record is strapped within the melancholic claustrophobia. While listening to this record, you can easily feel the need to scream at the top of your lungs. Especially with lyrics diving deep into the oceans of one’s own tormented and misunderstood existence. The quartet takes you on a quest of getting to know yourself, offering a mirror that, no doubt, hurts like all hell, while at the same time, gives you the insight into what you never thought was there. Exceptional work!

Huh, it seems like “Into the Oceans” grew on me. It took a few spins, but it got to where it wanted. I still notice bits and pieces that might not be quite to my taste, but somehow I’m able to look past them. My guess is that the fans who are more into music like this should have an even easier task to accept Heleven. As for me, I will stop complaining right now.